Family woodland owners, who own roughly one-third of the nation’s forests and woodlands, are greatly impacted by invasive forest pests — plants, insects and disease. The damage to our communities, our environment, and our economy from these invasive species is tremendous. Some estimate the damages at over $138 billion annually, due to losses in the forest products industry, the tourism and recreation industry, and woodland owner income. If a forest pest infests a family woodland owner’s land, it can mean complete destruction of their land, loss of a significant family treasure, a severe reduction in land-based income, and elimination of wildlife habitat despite intense investment in time, effort, and money.
Forest Pests and their Effects
While much harder to quantify, the impact on our environment is probably more severe and includes impacts like denuded watersheds, destruction of critical habitat for wildlife, and complete obliteration of tree species.
- Invasives 101: Find comprehensive guides, maps and tools to help you combat this threat.
- Field Guide: Identify what's damaging your trees.
- Latest Alerts: Stay up-to-date with new and emerging threats.
While pests have threatened our forests for centuries, recent globalization and travel have increased invasive forest pest infestations significantly in the last decade. As forest owners adjust to this new threat and work tirelessly to conserve our nation's working forests, decision-makers must provide these woodland owners with the tools they need to do right by their land, while ensuring laws are in place to protect our borders from future foreign pests.
Protect Funding for Forest Health and Conservation Programs
In particular, we advocate for decision-makers to improve & provide adequate funding for:
- Federal, state, and local efforts, including public awareness, to prevent introduction of invasive forest pests and pathogens.
- Early detection and eradication programs, especially in family-owned woodlands, to minimize the impact and spread of introduced species on forests and woodlands.
- Research and development programs to ensure that invasive species response mechanisms can be developed and implemented in a timely manner and to ensure that restoration tools are available to respond to woodlands following significantly damage.
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture