Attack of the Asian longhorned bettle Invasive exotic species threatens northeastern Canada and U.S. forests

Canadian Journal of Forest Research

29 August 2011 --  

Ottawa, Canada – Previously found in urban areas, the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) has moved beyond the confines of our cities and into natural forested areas, where its impact could be devastating.  Recent research published in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research (CJFR) confirms this disturbing trend and calls for immediate action.

Authors Dr. Kevin Dodds of the USDA Forest Service and Dr. David Orwig of Harvard University conclude that the ALB, if not contained immediately, will continue to expand its reach into precious natural hardwood stands. “Clear understanding of the potential impact of any invasive species is paramount for considering future management options,” says Dodds. “Our findings suggest that removal of certain host tree species should be continued to curtail the economic and ecological impacts of this invasive species on hardwood forests.” 

In the past, many regions of Canada and the United States have suffered attack by invasive exotic species and pathogens. Gypsy moth, Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight, and emerald ash borer are among the notorious pests that have greatly altered forest ecosystems, economies, and urban landscapes. ALB joins the list. “Thousands of maple trees have been removed from urban streets in North America, leaving entire blocks and neighbourhoods devoid of trees; now the pest is also invading forests,” says Orwig.  “This is the first time ALB has been encountered in large forest stands in North America,” explains Dodds. “Collecting data from stands like this provides an important opportunity to gather information that may help manage this insect if it becomes established.”

Since the mid 1990s, several infestations of ALB have been found in major North American cities such as New York and Toronto. Red maple, sugar maple, and Norway maple are among the species most susceptible to infestation. “One of the really disturbing findings from our work has been that ALB is doing well in red maple, and with its large ecological and geographic range, provides an easy pathway for ALB into various forest ecosystems of eastern North America,” says Dodds.

“The Canadian Journal of Forest Research provides a platform for Canadian and international researchers to present important findings such as Dodds and Orwig’s recent study on the effects of the invasive ALB,” says Dr. Daniel Kneeshaw, Editor of CJFR. “This beetle was believed to be confined to urban areas; their work demonstrates that the ALB is a real threat to natural forest ecosystems and thus it provides the first scientific basis for long-term action plans to maintain forests in northeastern U.S. and Canada.”

For more information on the Asian longhorned beetle:

About the journal
Published since 1971, the Canadian Journal of Forest Research is highly respected monthly journal featuring articles, reviews, notes, and commentaries on all aspects of forest science.

Full reference
Dodds, K.J., and Orwig, D.A. 2011. An invasive urban forest pest invades natural environments —  Asian Longhorned Beetle in Northeastern U.S. hardwood forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 41(9): 1729–1742. DOI: 10.1139/x11-097.

For more information, contact:
Kevin Dodds (US Forest Service, Durham, NH)
Phone: 603-868-7743

About the Publisher 
NRC Research Press, previously the publishing arm of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) since 1929, transitioned in September 2010 from NRC and the Federal Government of Canada into an independent not-for-profit organization operating under the new name Canadian Science Publishing. Canadian Science Publishing (which continues to operate under the brand NRC Research Press) is the foremost scientific publisher in Canada and one of the most advanced electronic publishing services in the world. With over 50 highly skilled experts and an editorial team comprising some of the world’s leading researchers, NRC Research Press (Canadian Science Publishing) communicates scientific discoveries to over 100 countries.

Canadian Science Publishing operates under the brand NRC Research Press but is not affiliated with the National Research Council Canada. Papers published by Canadian Science Publishing are peer-reviewed by experts in their field. The views of the authors in no way reflect the opinions of Canadian Science Publishing or the National Research Council of Canada. Requests for commentary about the contents of any study or review should be directed to the authors. 

Customer comments

  1. By Bill Skvarla on

    Now is the time to aggressively incorporate chemical and biological management strategies to stop the spread of ALB. Any government, be it Canada or The United States, that believes that it should kill the forest to treat the forest is lazy, lacks funds, or has no intellectual curiosity. There are too many other proven means of eradication.