First discovered in Michigan in 2002, the emerald ash borer, native to Asia, has since traveled to at least 10 other U.S. states, as well as Canada.
To save programs from being cut, urban foresters must convey to decision-makers how urban forests benefit stormwater management, water/air quality, and property values.

Alison Stewart, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman, stresses that it's essential to have information on-hand of how your urban and community forests benefit stormwater management, water and air quality, human health and well-being, property values, and other contributions to the local economy. Communicating this information to decision-makers as they decide where to direct funding and how to address federal and state stormwater, clean air, and clean water requirements should be a vital part of your job description.

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For more on federal grants for urban forestry, visit here

Bugging out

“Unfortunately, some of the potentially most destructive pests in urban forests have become more troublesome,” says the U.S. Forest Service's Alison Stewart.

This is because these pests are on the move. The emerald ash borer, for example, is moving westward, and new populations of the Asian longhorned beetle have been discovered in New England.

Other pests and diseases urban foresters should watch for include bacterial leaf scorch, sudden oak death, gypsy moth, and hemlock woolly adelgid. “But detecting the not-yet-known pest may be even more critical,” says Stewart.

Fallen trees

In the Western states, entomologists are warning that black walnut trees may face extinction due to “thousand canker” disease, caused by a fungus recently found on native walnut twig beetles. And, in the Rocky Mountain region, Aspen trees are dying by the thousands. A prolonged drought, warmer temperatures, and even the lack of forest fires may have allowed parasites to flourish and cause “Sudden Aspen Decline.” National forests are cutting dying aspen stands in several areas to encourage root sprouting and regenerate dying forests.

One near-extinct tree, however, may be on the comeback trail. The American Chestnut Foundation reported in September that recent plantings of a blight-resistant version of the American chestnut tree survived their first year in Eastern states. Taking a cue from the foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been deploying scientists to collect seeds from ash trees so they can be stored in the cooperative National Plant Germplasm System, with intent to engineer trees resistant to the emerald ash borer and reintroduce them within the next 20 years.