Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
In 2008, the exotic invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) was first detected in the City of Worcester, Massachusetts.  Following the detection, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts established a cooperative program to eradicate ALB. To eradicate this pest, all infested trees are removed and chipped. Now, nine years later, well over 36,000 trees have been removed from public and private property, including from yards, parks, schools, and streets within the current 110 square mile regulated area that encompasses the entire City of Worcester, the second most populous city in all of New England after Boston, and four surrounding towns and portions of another one.



In response to this large-scale tree removal, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) developed a well-coordinated reforestation plan, including a broad coalition of partners to work in cooperation so as to quickly restore the tree canopy for the regulated area. With federal funding provided through the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the United States Forest Service (USFS) and Commonwealth dollars, to date, the DCR Urban and Community Forestry Worcester Reforestation Program has planted 18,766 trees on both public and private property.

 

This effort required significant outreach and education efforts on the part of DCR and partners. DCR hired full-time urban and community foresters specifically for the reforestation program and they worked with public and private landowners to gain approval to replant trees on public and private property. Each spring and fall, DCR hired a number of tree planters from within the community to plant the trees by hand. DCR Reforestation staff also educated citizens and the community in proper tree care and maintenance.  When not overseeing the planting crews, the DCR urban and community foresters scheduled appointments to meet with property owners to discuss tree planting options, selecting the right tree for the right place from an offering of over 30 trees, including large shade trees, ornamentals, and conifers, ensuring a tree for every location.



Until ALB is declared eradicated from the Worcester area, both tree removal and tree planting numbers will continue to climb, although these numbers now grow at a much slower pace than nine years ago.  While removing trees to control the beetle is not an ideal option for most tree owners, they do have another option, and that is to have a new one planted on their property.