Forest Health Insect & Disease Briefing


  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018
    7:30 AM  -  8:30 AM
    Registration / Coffee & Refreshments / Fellowship
    8:30 AM  -  9:30 AM
    Optional Pesticide Credit Core Topic Instructional Session

    Are You Label Literate, Or Are You Just Guessing?

    This presentation will cover the basic requirements and concepts regarding the pesticide label. This discussion addresses the specific information that is required by EPA to be on labels. The presentation will also address the issue of mandatory label language that is enforceable verses advisory language. To help in illustrating and making these Core related concepts more relevant to the audience, examples of specific use directions and restrictions associated with various forest labeled products will be used as examples.

    9:30 AM  -  10:00 AM
    10:00 AM  -  10:05 AM
    10:05 AM  -  10:45 AM
    Tree Roots - How They Grow & Interact
    Pennsylvania has diverse tree species that use their roots in very different ways. To understand the ecology of tree roots, one must also understand how they interact with their fungal symbionts, an association know as mycorrhizas. One group of trees is colonized by ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi. These include oaks, beech, birch and hickories. Ectomycorrhizal fungi are known for their ability to extend further from the root and to more directly break down organic matter. Another group of trees, such as maples, elms, ash and black gum, associate with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, which are less able to break down organic matter and are best known for their ability to aid roots in phosphorus acquisition. In addition to mycorrhizas, tree species also differ widely in their root morphology, in particular their branching intensity and absorptive root diameter. Species with thick absorptive roots include tulip poplar, sassafras and pines. These trees are much more dependent on mycorrhizas for nutrient acquisition and tend to be less opportunistic in their foraging for nutrient hotspots. In contrast, thin root species, like maples, elms, oaks and hickories are much more opportunistic. The AM thin-root trees show strong preferential root growth in nutrient hotspots whereas the EM thin-root trees forage more preferentially with their mycorrhizal fungi. The outcome of the different tree nutrient foraging strategies on forest management will be discussed.
    10:45 AM  -  11:30 AM
    In a Nutshell: Animal-mediated Dispersal of the Oaks & Implications for Oak Forest Management
    Michael will review some of his lab’s 27 years of research across North America (including Mexico), Costa Rica and China on the process of oak dispersal by rodents and birds. Seed dispersal, a critical stage in the lifecycle of many plants, involves the movement of the seed beyond the shadow of the parent plant to sites suitable for germination and seedling establishment. Michael will show how specific acorn characteristics (e.g. germination schedules, chemistry, morphology) influence the behavior of seed-hoarding animals, and how these behavioral decisions in turn influence the process of oak dispersal, seedling establishment, and the regeneration of our forests. He will also show how some rodents trade-off greater predation risks in more open habitat for lower rates of pilferage and how this may translate into variable seedling success for seeds and nuts of several hardwood species.
    10:45 AM  -  11:30 AM
    Manual Herbicide Application Methods for Managing Vegetation in Appalachian Hardwood Forests
    Controlling undesirable vegetation is a major component of any silvicultrual system involving the management of oaks. It has long been recognized that controlling understory competition before harvest and timely release after harvest are critical to successfully regenerating and retaining oak and other desirable species in future stands. Herbicides are a versatile, cost-effective tool that can be used in a variety of ways to help manage forest vegetation. Manual herbicide application methods are well suited for the small forest ownerships in the rugged Appalachians, where the use of mechanical methods and prescribed burning are often limited by steep terrain and fragmented ownerships. Some herbicide application methods also have the advantage of being target-specific when treatments are restricted to species different from those considered desirable. The effects of herbicide treatments on interfering vegetation can last for several years thereby providing slower growing seedlings like oak spp. time to develop and become competitive. Four commonly used manual herbicide application methods are reviewed here: stem injection, basal spray, cut-stump, and foliar spray, recommendations on which herbicides to use, rates of application, and timing are also discussed.
    12:15 PM  -  1:30 PM
    Lunch (provided) & Fellowship
    1:30 PM  -  2:00 PM
    Discovery & Potential Trophic Implications of the Exotic Fruit Fly

    Drosophila suzukii, on the Allegheny National Forest Ecosystem

    The Spotted-winged Drosophila (SWD, Drosophila suzukii), a non-native pest of berry and stone fruit, has spread rapidly across the continent since it first appeared on the West coast in 2008. Unlike native fruit flies, which oviposit on overripe or decaying fruit, SWD has a saw-like ovipositor that enables it to lay its eggs in unripe fruit, and thus prevent full ripening. Although the devastating effects of SWD on commercial fruit production have been well-studied globally, its prevalence and impacts on native forest ecosystems remain virtually unknown. In 2016, we discovered an infestation of SWD in the Allegheny National Forest in two recent timber harvests dominated by wild blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis). As the berries began to ripen, large numbers of fruit flies appeared, and essentially destroyed the entire crop within 2 weeks. A separate study of black cherry (Prunus serotina) seed viability revealed approximately 30% of fruit sampled were found to contain SWD maggots. Considering the importance of both blackberry and black cherry fruits to birds, rodents, bear, fishers and other species, their loss to SWD is likely to have direct impacts on wildlife populations, and perhaps tree regeneration patterns as well.

    1:30 PM  -  2:00 PM
    Utilization of Unmanned Aerial Systems in Forest Pest Management
    The USDA Forest Service is now fully invested in the utilization of UAS technology in forest pest management. Obvious applications are in inventory and monitoring through high definition remote sensing. Other applications are in actual release of beneficial insects, high precision pesticide spraying, placement of lures and detailed inspection and collection from tree tops and high limbs. This talk will discuss types of UAS, capabilities, restrictions and performance metrics to date. A nationwide initiative has been launched to develop standards for these machines, so that the FAA has a basis for detailed regulation. This initiative will greatly influence how, when and where these systems will be used in forestry management. Fundamental problems still exist such as the trade-off between mission duration and battery weight, controlling interactions between UAS and manned aircraft, resolution of societal concerns about privacy, vertical boundaries of private property etc.
    2:30 PM  -  3:15 PM
    Pennsylvania Insect & Disease Update
    Tim will discuss the status of primary insects and diseases impacting Pennsylvania's forests. This includes gypsy moth (and other spring defoliators), hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, thousand canker disease, and others. He will also address the Bureau's suppression, treatment, and monitoring programs as they apply to the various pests discussed.
    3:15 PM  -  3:30 PM
    Wrap-up / Evaluation / Credits Awarded