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Private forest management program offered

June 4, 2008
By Richard Gast, Franklin County Cornell Cooperative Extension
Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and the Northern Adirondack Chapter of the New York Forest Owners Association (NYFOA) have recently announced the first of three forest woodswalk workshops being offered this year. The concern of the first workshop will be Private Forest Management with a Special Focus on Invasive Forest Plant and Insect Species.

Workshop information

Date: Saturday, June 28

Time: 10 a.m. (Registration begins at 9 a.m.)

Location: Old Market Road; North Stockholm, (Knapp Station) NY

Registration and Information: Call me at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County 483-7403 or email

The event will start with a look at management and timber stand

improvement practices that have been utilized by private forest owner and NYFOA Northern Adirondack Chapter Chairmen Bill LaPoint of Stockholm who, under the supervision of the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Cornell Cooperative Extension

Foresters and Cornell University Department of Natural Resources

Extension Specialists, has been managing his surprisingly diverse

forest property with several landowner goals in mind. These include recreation, wildlife habitat enhancement and long-term production of high-quality sawtimber.

Bill has created several miles of all-terrain vehicle trails, which he uses for management area access and recreation. He has planted more than 20 species of trees in openings created during thinning operations and along roads and trails, established food plots for deer and turkey, seeded brush piles with hickory, black walnut, and butternut, put up bluebird nesting boxes, and presently monitors the growth of like species of trees growing under different conditions while he continues to work on the camp he built from wood harvested and milled on his property.

Among the highlights of the tour will be a demonstration of flame

weeding, offered by Cornell University State Extension Forester,

Peter Smallidge. The target species will be buckthorn. Common and

glossy buckthorn are two closely related invasive species which leaf

out early and retain their leaves late into the fall, creating dense shade and forming an impenetrable layer of vegetation that enables them to aggressively compete with many native plants. Buckthorn was first brought here from Europe in the mid-1800s for use in hedgerows, and as an ornamental shrub. Both varieties have since become naturalized in much of the northeast.

The event will conclude with an informative presentation, offered by

Saint Lawrence County Senior Extension Resource Educator, Steven Vandermark, about the impacts and potential impacts of invasive species in our region. This is an opportunity to learn how to identify, manage and help prevent the spread of invasive plants and insects that are, or have the potential to become especially detrimental to the health of our public and private lands.

Invasive species are plants, animals, fungi, or microorganisms that spread rapidly and cause harm to other species. They are introduced species that can thrive in areas beyond their natural range of dispersal.

Characteristically, invasive plant species are adaptable, aggressive and usually lacking natural enemies that can limit their growth and populations. They have a high reproductive capability; growing rapidly in short life cycles and producing abundant amounts of seed; aggressively competing with native plants and plant communities and often displacing them, thereby disrupting the normal functioning of ecosystems and threatening biodiversity and already endangered native plant species.

Animals that are dependent on native plants for forage and shelter

can be adversely affected as habitat is disturbed, reduced or destroyed. Soil can be degraded and groundwater levels reduced. As forest productivity is decreased or completely lost, the recreational quality and value of land can be diminished.

Purple loosestrife is a perfect example of a plant species introduced for horticultural use that has become a serious and widespread threat to native species, natural communities, and ecosystem processes.

Brought to North America as a medicinal plant by the European

colonists and introduced in the 1800s as an ornamental, purple loosestrife is still being marketed in areas where sale, purchase and distribution are not prohibited. Researchers have found, however, that even the supposedly sterile species that have been offered for sale for many years, in fact produce pollen and seed and will cross-pollinate with plants growing in the wild.

Mature purple loosestrife plants are capable of reproducing both through a very extensive system of rhizomes or rootstocks and by seed. A single nature plant may contain as many as thirty flowering stems capable of producing more than two million seeds per year.

Established populations threaten entire ecosystems. They persist for decades and are extremely difficult to control.

Presently, there are more than 400 established species of non-native invasive forest insects and diseases in the United States. A number of exotic insects including the Emerald ash borer, Sirex woodwasp, Asian longhorned beetle and hemlock wooly adelgid are profoundly impacting both forest and urban tree populations in or close to New York state.

Since its discovery in southeastern Michigan in 2002, more than 50 million ash trees have been killed by the Emerald Ash Borer in the United States. All native ash trees are susceptible. Tree mortality occurs within 1 to 4 years and is caused by larvae feeding in tunnels, or galleries in the phloem, just below the bark.

The Sirex woodwasp is feared worldwide. It is believed to be a killer

of all pine species and, in fact, all native North American softwood

species may be threatened by its presence. Trees that are already stressed by other site or environmental conditions seem to be preferred by the female wasps, which inject noxious mucus and a fungus into the bark of vulnerable trees while laying eggs. The fungus, which will be food for the larvae after they hatch, feeds on wood cells that are rapidly killed by the mucus.

Asian Longhorned Beetle larvae bore into and feed on living wood, including the heartwood, of a wide variety of mature hardwood tree

species. The boring inhibits vascular activity and ultimately kills

the host. Maples are the insects’ preferred host, but they will attack horse chestnuts, poplars, willows, ashes and others as well.

Hemlock Wooly Adelgids are tiny, aphid-like insects that extract sap and nutrients from hemlock foliage, inhibiting growth and seriously impairing tree health, causing decline and eventual mortality. Areas of extensive infestation exist in at least 16 states from Georgia to Maine.

Currently, 20 New York counties are experiencing Hemlock Wooly Adelgids infestations.

Learn more. Contact your local Department of Environmental Conservation or Cornell Cooperative Extension office.


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