Ecology and Management of Invasive Species and Forest Ecosystems

The mixed oak forests of northeastern and midwestern regions of the United States cover over 56 million acres. These forests have great ecological value as habitats for many native plants and animals, but many tree species are under siege from the largest concentrations of invasive forest insects and fungal pathogens in the country. In addition, seedlings and stump sprouts do not necessarily succeed in regenerating a mixed oak forest after disturbance. The NRS entomologists, ecologists, and silviculturists in this unit are in the forefront of research to help mitigate disturbances by invasives, fire, deer browsing, and logging. Many of them focus on biology, ecology, detection, and control methods for invasive species already established in the United States (gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, and hemlock woolly adelgid) but they are ready to leap into action whenever a new pest (for example, Asian longhorned beetle and Asian gypsy moth) is introduced. Another group of scientists in this unit focuses specifically on silviculture, the care and development of forests, to enhance regeneration of oak-dominated forests.