Restoration and Conservation of Rural and Urban Forests

Pathogens and Insects

Researchers inspect a tree from an aerial work platform.

Making Sense of Pathogens and Insects

Our scientists study many pathogens and insect pests that damage the health of trees and forest systems. Preventing new introductions of pathogens and invasive insects is the first line of defense for protecting forest ecosystems. When new introductions cannot be avoided, early detection and rapid response can help limit the damage. Well-established pathogens and insect pests often cannot be eliminated altogether and must be managed with ongoing control measures. All of this requires tools and methods from many scientific disciplines.

Understanding How Trees Are Affected

In the United States, disease-causing fungi have devastated vast populations of once-plentiful trees including American chestnut and American elm. Non-native insects like the beech scale insect and emerald ash borer may attack native tree species after being introduced to the US from other parts of the world. Changing environmental conditions and changing land uses may increase the effects of both native and non-native ‘invasive’ species with negative economic, environmental, and social consequences.

What This Research Means

Our research analyzes pathogens and insect pests from many angles in order to understand how to protect, maintain, and restore the health of forests.

Follow the links below to learn more about our research on pathogens and insects.

Research Summaries



Both Pathogens and Insects

Last Modified: March 14, 2019