Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oh, no. Not again.

Apart from being a nice line from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, this sums up my feelings when I read the following headline:

Beetle Invasion Threatens New England Trees.

Although I don't live in New England, the Upper Midwest is still recovering from the impacts of Dutch Elm disease in the 1970s and Emerald Ashborers from just a couple of years ago. Now I find out about an Asian longhorn beetle that can burrow into birch, poplar, willow, sycamore, maple and elm. Hmm... Looking around Ann Arbor, I have seen birch, poplar, willow, sycamore, maple and elm... Many of the trees planted around the city are maples, although the number of sycamores are also sizeable. I wonder how they these beetles will affect oaks, which are another major constituent tree in so-called Tree Town.

If this beetle gets into town, then Ann Arbor might have to plant softwoods that people are not really craze about. It will change the cool summers into heat-island infernos. It might also allow for a greater infestation of invasive shrubs and trees. It will - in the short term - create many eye-sores around the city as trees die and are left un-cut, and then (possibly) create hazards to property and public safety.

I'm not really happy about this ecologically dark-side-to-globalization. (At least some action is being taken on aquatic invasions...)

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