Global Trade Is Causing Forest Insect Pests To Spread Around The Planet

November 15th, 2017

Global Trade Is Causing Forest Insect Pests To Spread Around The Planet

Humans have classified different spans of time during earth’s history with certain names. Some of these names include the jurassic era, the cretaceous era and the Anthropocene era. These classifications are necessary, as life on earth has existed for over one billion years and many different plants and animals have come and gone during that time. For those of you who have never heard of the “Anthropocene era”, that is understandable since it is the era that we are living in today. The anthropocene era is distinct from other eras due to the current ecological makeup of life on earth. In the past, natural disasters and global catastrophes had wiped out entire species. The era we are living in today will also be remembered for changes in the natural environment, but this time these environmental changes will be induced by mankind. One of the biggest concerns today is global forest devastation caused by insect pests. If insect pests are responsible for deforestation, then humans don’t need to blame themselves for the damage inflicted upon many of earth’s forests, right? Not so much. Actually, invasive insects are destroying non-native ecosystems because humans are spreading insects as a result of increased global trade.

Leaf sucking insects, Bark beetles, wood-boring beetles, and defoliating caterpillars represent the most damaging forest insects in the world today. These insects are destroying trees at an unprecedented rate because most forest managers are not trained to control the proliferation of new insect pests that originate from exotic locations. Forests managers are trained to handle native pests, but increased global trade is bringing invasive insect pests to to new locations. These forest managers are unfamiliar with many of the invasive insect pests that have been showing up in different forests on almost every continent. In addition to that, increasing global temperatures are allowing invasive insects to thrive in regions where they never could have before. Researchers from Dartmouth are currently developing tactics to reduce the spread of invasive insects.

Have you taken notice of the invasive insect crisis while visiting any of the world nature preserves?





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November 2017