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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

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Invasives Ecology

Ecology and Management of Invasive Species and Forest Ecosystems

Research Work Unit NRS-03[Photograph]:Alien invaders: Asian longhorned beetle.

We provide knowledge and methods for protecting and sustaining healthy forests affected by invading species and other disturbances.
We seek to:

  • Understand invasion biology and provide the biological basis for risk assessments.
  • Improve detection and identification of invading species.
  • Assess social, economic, and ecological effects of biological invasions.
  • Provide and evaluate integrated management tools and strategies to deal with invasive species.
  • Develop restoration/rehabilitation options for invaded forest ecosystems.
  • Develop genetic, silvicultural, and forest management tools to sustain the productivity of our forests and wild lands.

Research Topics

Our research scientists and support personnel focus on nonnative invasive species, such as insects, diseases, and plants affecting forests and trees.  We work to develop basic understanding of invasion biology, spread, population dynamics, ecological effects, and economic impacts of problematic nonnative invasive species in the Northeast and Midwest.  This information is then used to develop predictive models and treatments for integrated management. Such treatments include biocontrol (including natural enemies), mating disruption, pesticides, silviculture, and host resistance. The development of decision-support models, management tools, and landscape-scale models for the Gypsy Moth Slow-the-Spread Program is an important component of the unit’s applied research and development approach.

Similar approaches for hemlock woolly adelgid and emerald ash borer are in earlier stages of development.  Evaluations of hazards, risk, and social, ecological, and economic effects of other nonnative invasive species are used by managers for risk assessment.  Unit scientists are also experts on the biology of the Asian longhorned beetle. Long-term studies of silvicultural practices for reducing gypsy moth effects, new research on silvicultural treatments for hemlock woolly adelgid, beech bark disease, and emerald ash borer, and work on restoration treatments of American chestnut and butternut all form the applied research effort in restoration of forests adversely affected by invasive species.  Unit scientists also do some proactive research on insects that are at high risk of being introduced and pose a significant threat to our forests, like nun moth a close relative of the gypsy moth. We also develop biologically and economically effective silvicultural treatments for managing, rehabilitating, and regenerating oak forests as part of NRS’s sustaining forests theme.

Last Modified: 12/10/2015