Volume 7, Issue 4 - August/September 2014
Eastern Threat Center Highlights
Campers on the Move Provide Insight into Risks of Pest Invasion
Researchers concerned about invasive pests know that humans often play a role in helping insects spread. Transporting firewood from home to burn at a faraway campsite is one such way that people can unknowingly introduce non-native insects into a new environment where they could damage or destroy forest resources. Now, researchers have a better understanding of the origins and destinations of potentially infested firewood. Center research ecologist Frank Koch and partners used more than seven million federal campground reservations to model campers' travel patterns. As part of a recently published study, the researchers produced maps highlighting the riskiest areas in the lower 48 United States and seven Canadian provinces--those most likely to provide a source of insect-infested firewood. This information can help decision makers develop strategies for preventing the movement and spread of invasive insects via firewood bound for a recreational campfire.
Right: A camper transports firewood, a practice that increases the risk of spreading non-native insect pests. Photo by Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org.
When Does Biodiversity Make a Difference?
Biodiversity can be like a forest’s insurance policy. The more and varied the tree species that live there, the better the chance that the forest can remain healthy, stable, and resilient through times of disturbance. But as climate change prompts new forest management approaches intended to maximize growth and productivity for carbon storage, bioenergy, and other benefits, researchers are wondering: when exactly does biodiversity make a difference? Kevin Potter, a North Carolina State University scientist working with the Eastern Threat Center, collaborated to study the dynamics at play between tree biodiversity and live aboveground biomass. Results were recently published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management. Read more in CompassLive...
Above: According to new research, tree species that are more distinct in terms of their evolutionary past may have uniquely important ecosystem functions in a forest community. Pictured is a diverse oak-hickory forest in North Carolina. Photo by Kevin Potter.
Scientist Connects Research and Landscape-scale Conservation
Ecologist Lars Pomara’s research interests include biogeography, landscape ecology, and conservation of temperate and tropical forest ecosystems. Since joining the Eastern Threat Center in June, Lars is applying those interests to synthesize existing research on threats to ecosystem services and biodiversity across Appalachian landscapes and ecosystems. This work, involving the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative, will result in new strategies and tools to address future vulnerabilities in a coherent planning framework that will benefit the Appalachian region.
Right: The Eastern Threat Center welcomes ecologist Lars Pomara.