Sap-sucking Bugs Threaten Hemlock Forests

Sap-sucking insects called hemlock woolly adelgids are draining the life from a common evergreen tree in the eastern United States. Since arriving from Japan in the 1950s, the tiny bugs have spread from Georgia to Maine—about half of the Eastern hemlock’s range. Once the bugs become well-established, the consequences can be grave. Areas with severe…  More 

White Pines, Hemlocks, and Sunlight

The Blue Valley Experimental Forest (Blue Valley) lies in southwest North Carolina in the Nantahala National Forest. Located in Macon County, near the point where North Carolina meets Georgia and South Carolina, the experimental forest was established in 1964. At 1,300 acres, it is the smallest of the three experimental forests in North Carolina and the second smallest…  More 

First Release in the Carolinas of New Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Predator

On Friday last week, U.S. Forest Service scientists with the Southern Research Station and Forest Health Protection released just over 1200 Laricobius osakensis beetles on eastern hemlock trees in North and South Carolina. Reared at University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Lindsay Young Beneficial Insects Lab, the predator beetles are natural enemies of the hemlock woolly adelgid, an…  More 

Life after Hemlock: Restoring Riparian Forests in the Southern Appalachians

In the last decade, the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny sap-sucking insect native to Japan, has swept through southern Appalachian forests, leaving dead hemlocks in its wake. Hemlock branches no longer shade streams or tower over shrubs, and their loss has affected streamside, or riparian, forests. “Without hemlock, more sunlight reaches the forest floor,” says U.S.…  More 

Planting Promise for Hemlocks

On August 3, 15 young volunteers and U.S. Forest Service researchers worked in the hot sun at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest near Asheville, North Carolina, planting eastern hemlock tree seedlings for a biocontrol insectary. Participants from Boy Scout Troop 91 were joined by friends and classmates from area schools and two parents in planting 88…  More 

Bad News for the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Over the past decade, the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny insect, has ravaged the hemlocks of Southern Appalachia, causing widespread death of the trees that once lined mountain streams throughout the region. Efforts to keep hemlocks alive include releasing insects that feed on the hemlock woolly adelgid, including the Laricobius beetle featured in a recent…  More 

Making a Start on Restoring Hemlocks to the Southern Appalachians

This winter, in collaboration with the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Camcore program, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) established plots for the first phase of research to support restoring hemlocks to the forest stands in the southern Appalachians they’ve disappeared from. Andy Tait, NCSU-Camcore research assistant based at SRS, coordinated the planting…  More 

One-Two Punch Slows Down the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Can combining chemical and biological treatments save eastern hemlocks from the hemlock woolly adelgid? Recently published research by U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators offers hope that integrated management can provide sustained protection for an iconic tree. In an article published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, Forest Service and university researchers provide findings…  More 

Changes at Streamside in the Southern Appalachians

The loss of eastern hemlock could affect water yield and storm flow from forest watersheds in the southern Appalachians, according to a new study by U.S. Forest Service scientists at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory (Coweeta) located in Otto, North Carolina. The article was recently published online in the journal Ecohydrology. “Eastern hemlock trees have died throughout…  More 

Researchers Track “Gray Ghosts” Across the Southern Appalachians

People living in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States have long enjoyed a rich culture of storytelling. Often rooted in a deep connection to the natural world, stories from Appalachian folklore serve to entertain as well as to educate; sometimes, important life lessons emerge, especially from tales of demise. A present-day ghost story…  More