Forests Under Siege
Forest pests pose one of the most serious and urgent threats for many forests and urban and suburban trees in the US.
In a time of climate change, we rely increasingly on forests for their carbon storage, storm water management, cooling, and biodiversity protection benefits. Meanwhile, invasive pests are gnawing away at our important natural infrastructure at an alarming rate. Despite annual costs in the billions, the impact of invasive insects and pathogens is under-appreciated.
Pests are unintentionally introduced via global trade. But most efforts to combat pests focus on managing the insects and pathogens once they arrive, rather than preventing their arrival through clean trade strategies.
preventing pest invasions
The Science Policy Exchange, with partners at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, is increasing public and policy attention to trade measures that offer solutions to the forest pest problem. In 2014, we brought together top scientists and policy experts from across the US and assembled the most comprehensive paper available on the forest pest problem, its ecological and economic impacts, and potential policy solutions.
Our synthesis shows that preventing the arrival of new pests holds the greatest promise for safeguarding our nation’s forests and community trees.
Advancing Clean Trade Strategies
We are working with journalists to increase awareness of trade as the source of damaging forest pests, and working with policymakers and business leaders to change trade policies and protocols.
We refined our list of clean trade strategies through meetings with staff at federal agencies in Washington D.C. with the mission of facilitating trade while preventing the arrival of forest pests. We are continuing to advance specific actions these groups can take to prevent pest invasions.