Forest Health, Insect, and Disease Update: Strategies to Prioritize Treatment Needs and Develop Appropriate Silvicultural Guides in Unhealthy Stands
From Sarah Wurzbacher
Saf, Vice President, Generations Forestry; Joshua
Hanson, Silviculturist, Allegheny National Forest; David
Gustafson, Forestry Division Chief, Bureau of
Wildlife Habitat Management, PA Game Commission
Description: Forest ecosystems on the Allegheny National (ANF) forest and surrounding landscape have been impacted by a number of native and introduced forest pests and pathogens and other disturbances for decades. These pests, pathogens and disturbances include non-native invasive species such as the beech bark disease complex, gypsy moths, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid and native pests such as fall webworm, forest tent caterpillar, elm spanworm, and cherry scallopshell moth outbreaks. Environmental factors such as changing soil nutrient status, droughts, wind and other storm events are also affecting the heath and structure of forests on the ANF and beyond. Non-native invasive plants, the overall age of forests, and seedling establishment issues further complicate and challenge our ability to sustain healthy and diverse forests on the ANF and beyond. To address the ever-increasing cumulative impact of these threats that are not limited by ownership boundaries, the Allegheny National Forest has engaged a broad cross-section of agencies, resource professionals, landowners, organizations and academia to collaboratively assess and prioritize strategies to address forest health threats. A key component of this effort focuses on developing approaches to assign treatment priority and silvicultural strategies for degraded and impacted stands.