New England Vacations Require Birch Trees – Help Save Them!

Maine Birch Trees Route 201 along Wyman LakeWatching the terrible tragedy of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill unfold over these last weeks has gotten us thinking even more than usual about the natural beauty that surrounds us everyday and the things that make New England such a special place.

Whether whitewater rafting New England, cruising a back road in search of fall foliage,  or seeking out wilderness on hut to hut hiking trips, visitors can’t help but notice the stunning and unique white birch trees that are such a special part of the New England landscape.

Sadly, these stunning hardwood trees — as well as beech and maple trees — face an environmental threat that is potenially every bit as deadly as the oil spill in the Gulf.  The danger comes from the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), a bug that bores into hardwood trees and kills them.

In 2001, the U.S. Forest Service and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  discovered that if all urban area in the US were to become infected with this beetle, it could mean the loss of 30 percent of the country’s hardwood trees — some 1.2 billion trees; the destruction of 35 percent of the country’s tree canopy; and about $669 billion in tree value. 

AsianLong Horn Beetle Threatens Maine Trees66 square miles around Worcester, Massachusetts are under quarantine after an ALB infestation was discovered in that city in August 2008. The quarantine area also includes Boylston, West Boylston, Holden and Shrewsbury and more than 15,000 trees have been removed so far in an attempt to contain the infestation. 

These little killer beetles could wipe out birch trees, sugar maples, beech trees and other species, habitat as across several states, maple syrup production and of course New England’s gorgeous fall colors!  So let’s not take our trees for granted, you can help by keeping an eye out for the ALB and calling the U.S. Forest Service if you spot them!