Posted on November 29, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Invasive insect pest spreading out of the Midwest
A close up of an Emerald Ash Borer insect and the feeding tunnels the insects create under ash bark. Insect Photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University. Tunnel Photo: NPS Photo
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The destructive emerald ash borer has made its first incursion into the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where it could do serious damage to hardwood forests, according to National Park Service biologists.
The ash borer is a non-native species that was introduced from Asia and first discovered in southern Michigan in 2002. In just 10 years, the bugs have spread to 16 states and two Canadian provinces killing tens of millions of ash trees.
The emerald ash borer is a half-inch inch-long metallic green beetle that lays eggs on the bark on all species of ash trees. After hatching, the larvae burrow under the bark, and create feeding tunnels that cut off nutrient and water flow to the tree. The tree can die in three to five years. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, forests | Tagged: emerald ash borer, Environment, forests, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, invasive species, National Park Service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 3, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A firefly closeup, courtesy of Firefly.org. Click on the image to see more great firefly shots.
Warming temps disrupt delicate cycles involving plants, insects and birds
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — If you miss this year’s synchronized firefly display in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can blame it on freakishly warm spring weather, perhaps linked to predicted weather extremes caused by global warming.
Because of the unseasonably warm spring, the synchronized fireflies in the park are displaying earlier than ever recorded, according to park officials.
Fireflies are in trouble as it is, with habitat loss and artificial night lighting cited as the main threats to their survival by Firefly.org. A rapidly changing climate probably won’t help their chances, as the timing of larval emergence and the blooming of plants the insects depend on changes. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, national parks, public lands, seasons | Tagged: climate, fireflies, global warming, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, insects | 5 Comments »
Posted on March 22, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Gray bats, federally listed as endangered, are threatened by the continued spread of white-nose syndrome. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.
Concern grows over potential westward spread
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —A devastating disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the country has spread into two popular national parks: Acadia National Park in Maine and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina. Together these two parks host more than 11 million visitors each year.
“Discovery of white-nose syndrome at two of our leading national parks is particularly troubling because of the vital role these parks play in safeguarding wildlife and plant populations,” said Mollie Matteson, a bat specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity.
White-nose syndrome has killed almost 7 million bats in North America. The disease has previously been documented at smaller Park Service units, including Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in New Jersey, in 2009, and Russell Cave National Monument in Alabama, where the disease was confirmed just last week. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Acadia National Park, bats, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Russell Cave National Monument, white-nose syndrome | Leave a Comment »