A close call with Asian Longhorned Beetle

by Larissa Glasser, Library Assistant
January 29, 2015

American Forests

A close call with Asian Longhorned Beetle

American ForestsArnold Arboretum featured in American Forests magazine

Anyone who remembers our recent scare with the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) may be interested in seeing the Winter 2015 issue of American Forests magazine (Volume 120, number 4). “Eradication Nation” by Tate Williams features Arboretum Director of Operations Stephen Schneider, who provides a behind-the-scenes account of Arnold Arboretum’s joint effort with the USDA to eradicate the invasive pest.

On July 4, 2010, six maple trees at Faulkner Hospital showed symptoms of ALB infestation. Situated directly across Centre Street, The Arnold Arboretum had obvious cause for concern. 281 acres of remarkable trees stood in the crosshairs of this dangerous (not to mention ugly!) pest. In addition to maple trees, ALB love to damage birches, elms, and even willow trees. Left undetected or unchecked, ALB can massacre urban tree canopies on a grand scale, and spread to other parts of the country. If allowed to thrive, ALB could decimate a almost third of the trees in North America. Long Island and Ohio are currently battling the beetle, which reiterates the need for ongoing nationwide vigilance.

ALB is slow but voracious and extremely destructive. It has destroyed millions of trees in China. The decade-cumulative effect of ALB upon Worcester County claimed 34,000 trees. This American Forests article includes heartbreaking before-and-after photographs of a severely affected residential Worcester street.

Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, and Brookline operated under quarantine from 2010 to 2014. The detection and prevention campaign was ultimately successful and Boston was declared ALB-free on May 14, 2014 during a press conference held outside the Hunnewell Building at the Arboretum. It was a glorious day for victory.

Luckily, ALB is easy to detect, and the USDA had a unique advantage in raising public awareness through display advertising on billboards and mass transit. The Visitor Center and Horticultural Library of the Arnold Arboretum have additional educational resources available. The USDA also hosts its own website dedicated to keeping plant pests in check.

American Forests is one of many journals the library collects. Our other titles include the study of horticulture, garden history, botanical illustration, landscape architecture, forestry, plant biology, museum studies, and so much more. Whatever your interests, these journals offer great benefits to students and researchers who seek to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in horticultural sciences. Our most current journals are arranged alphabetically by title, across from the elevator at the entrance of the library. The library has access to hundreds of online databases with full-text resources. For more information, visit our website or contact us at hortlib@arnarb.harvard.edu.

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