Massachusetts: The Deforestation of Worchester succeed by leaps and bounds

“You don’t have to go too far to find trees just snapped off. A lot of
other trees lost major branches high up and they’re damaged,” said
Robert Childs, an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts
Amherst. “Anytime a tree is broken like that, it just opens the tree
to these invaders – fungi, beetles – that contribute to the demise of
the trees.”

The storm was yet another blow to the trees of Worcester
and several surrounding towns, which have been under quarantine since
the destructive Asian longhorned beetle was discovered in the area
this summer. To stop the beetle from spreading, no wood may be
transported out of a 63-square-mile area, and fallen branches are
taken to a central facility to be turned into wood chips or to be
burned. Several forestry officials said that while the impact on
man-made infrastructure was huge, with some communities losing power
for nearly two weeks, the storm’s impact on forests paled in
comparison to the storm that struck New England a decade ago. That
storm hit farther north and coated 25 million acres of forest with
ice, mowing down large swaths of trees. That storm provided a
laboratory to better understand the impacts of devastating storms –
and showed that overall, forests recover, said Charles Levesque,
executive director of the North East State Foresters Association. “The
long-term damage as a result of the ’98 storm was not nearly what
people had predicted,” Levesque said. “The damage was terrible – and
those forests are still there.”

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