February 2023

Cleveland Metroparks (Credit: Rachel Kappler)

Hi all, 

It’s been a great quarter. We’ve got our final tallies from the fall ash seed collection, and they are impressive (you’ll have to read on to find out)! Some great new papers have come out, and we have new details to share about the hemlock workshop in April. 

Also, we are updating the GLBFHC webpage — if you are an active or interested partner and would like to send us a link to your web page, please do! We will add it to our site to help people in the forest health space more easily find each other.

-Rachel Kappler


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The Latest

American beech updates:

  • January 2023 update to the beech leaf disease map:

Ash updates: 

  • Fall seed collection: Big thank you to Cleveland Metroparks, Metroparks Toledo and Lorain County Metroparks for collecting and sending in lingering ash seeds! Together with collections from research orchards at the U.S. Forest Service and Holden Forests & Gardens, we were able to collect around 450,000 seeds from 94 trees! Also, thanks to Holden and Magnificat High School (Rocky River, Ohio) volunteers who helped separate seeds from tree debris! Not all Midwest locations have lingering ash to collect from yet, but we will send out word the next mast year for more collections.

Many spiders were found in the bags of ash seeds that were collected, most of them looked and acted like a zebra jumping spider (Salticus scenicus). (Credit: Rachel Kappler)

Eastern hemlock updates: 

  • Sign up for the April Lingering Hemlock Workshop. The hemlock symposium we mentioned in our last newsletter has been rebranded as the Lingering Hemlock Workshop. There will be presentations as well as breakout sessions to discuss definitions and monitoring. We will be meeting on April 18th, 2023, in-person at the North Carolina Botanical Garden (Chapel Hill, NC) with a virtual option. On April 19th we will have a field trip to the NC State University Mountain Research Station to see and discuss Dr. Benjamin Smith’s work with hemlock. If you are interested in attending and did not fill out the Google Form in the last newsletter, please do so now and we will email you directly when more information comes out about this workshop (free registration).

  • New hemlock pest hand-out. Looking for a flyer to hand out to folks in your area? This new hemlock pest flyer explains how to spot and report HWA and EHS. Brought to you by Holden and Ohio DNR. 

  • New Yorkers: Join the HWA Winter Mapping Challenge. From Feb 1 - March 15, 2023, whoever submits the most HWA surveys in the state (presence or absence) via iMap will win a prize from the NYS Hemlock Initiative. Learn how to get involved at NYiMapInvasives.org.

Have an update to share in the next GLBFHC newsletter? Email us!

Partner Spotlight: ODNR Forest Health Program

This quarter, we’re celebrating our partners at the ODNR Division of Forestry’s Forest Health Program! Their mission is to work cooperatively with partner agencies, organizations and all Ohioans to detect and effectively manage threats to forest ecosystems to maximize the benefits Ohio’s forests provide for all.

These forest health professionals are a huge help to the mission of the GLBFHC! In their monitoring for various forest pests and diseases, they survey the state for beech leaf disease and beech bark disease, and have been collecting American beech buds, in partnership with Holden Forests & Gardens, to help identify the nematode associated with beech leaf disease. They’re monitoring and treating hemlock woolly adelgid and elongate hemlock scale in accordance with the Ohio DNR Eastern Hemlock Conservation Plan, and have helped identify lingering ash.

Although we especially love their efforts with beech, ash, and hemlock, the ODNR Forest Health Program works to monitor and manage all sorts of forest threats across the state. They conduct aerial forest health detection surveys to identify areas of defoliation, discoloration, or mortality, and organize the annual Ohio Forest Health Meeting. 

Thank you, ODNR Division of Forest Health, for all that you do!

Get Involved: Search for HWA

Now is a great time to search for Hemlock Wooly Adelgid before the large wooly adults die off in March and April. 

How to submit observations: There are a number of ways to report HWA. Researchers will typically pull information from across these databases, so there’s no wrong place to submit — just choose whichever works best for you. For instance, you can submit observations through the citizen science apps TreeSnap, EDDmaps, Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN), iMapinvasives, or through the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN).

Research Roundup
  • Mounting evidence that white-tailed deer are the worst. National Park Service researchers at Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan, have a neat dataset for investigating impacts of white-tailed deer: 2009 and 2018 surveys from the mainland, an island with almost no deer presence, and an island with extra deer presence (it’s maintained as a game reserve). They found that increasing deer browse intensity increased beech sapling density, increased nonnative species richness and decreased number, abundance and height of preferred herbaceous species. [Sanders et al. 2023 Natural Areas Journal

  • Beech bark disease cuts growth in half. Researchers monitored 2016 beech trees in Vermont over 15 years to see how beech bark disease and other confounding variables influenced beech growth. Trees that were alive but infected saw an estimated reduction in growth of 51%, infected trees were dying at an estimated 2% per year, and the probability of a healthy tree becoming diseased in a given year was as high as 40%. [Coe et al. 2023 Forests

  • Will BLD hurt barred owls? 2022 surveys provide baseline data. The Michigan Natural Features Inventory surveyed barred owls at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where beech trees have been in decline. Thankfully, owl abundance was in line with data from past years. The new survey provides an important baseline to see how the owls respond to ongoing changes to the forest’s structure and composition. [Cole et al. 2022 Michigan Natural Features Inventory Report

  • Drone monitoring of large-scale ash death. Researchers from WVU and the USFS used drone surveys and an AI model to estimate ash death over a 20-ha area, and ground-truthed it to check accuracy. The model correctly detected, on average, 81% of declining or dead ash trees. This could be a new tool for creating distribution maps and estimating ash declines on a large scale. [Valicharla et al. 2023 Plants

  • EAB infestation delays ash flowering, but insecticide helps. A team at the University of Minnesota found that injected insecticides preserve budburst and flowering phenology in urban ash trees in Minneapolis. Untreated, infected trees budded and flowered 5-7 days later. [Mwangola et al. 2023 Journal of Economic Entomology

  • Hemlock-associated birds are in decline. Two hemlock-associated birds, the Blackburnian Warbler and the hermit thrush, are down >30% since the arrival of HWA, a new study found. Declines were not universal, so hopefully spatial heterogeneity can act as a buffer. [Rodrigues do Amaral et al. 2023 Authorea

Have new research to share in the next GLB FHC newsletter? Email us!

In the News

The Great Lakes Basin Forest Health Collaborative is an initiative co-sponsored by Holden Forests & Gardens and the USDA Forest Service, funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
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