Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trees in Trouble: A documentary film about America’s Urban Forests. Coming to PBS

Trees in Trouble: A documentary film about America’s Urban Forests. Coming to PBS broadcasting near you in association with Earth Day/ Arbor Day programming during the month of April. The film will be aired numerous times during the week of April 25th.
Trees in Trouble tells the story of Cincinnati’s response to the threat to its trees posed by the emerald ash borer. However, the film’s message is not limited to southern Ohio: across the country, from Massachusetts to San Diego, Minneapolis to Charleston, thousands of communities face the same threat: valuable and beloved trees being killed by non-native insects or diseases. While the trees and killers differ, the cost to the communities is the same: destruction of trees that provide shade and other important ecosystem services and create our sense of home. Trees in Trouble helps us understand what we are losing and links us to actions we can take to counter this tragedy.”   Faith Campbell, Vice President, Center for Invasive Species Prevention

 Check the PBS schedule chart at: to find out when Trees in Trouble will be airing on PBS in your area

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Native Predators May Be Having a Larger Impact than Expected on Invasive Stink Bug

Entomology Today. March 25, 2016 issue. 
By Dr. Rob Morrison, USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, WV. 

Research recently appearing in the journal Biological Control may change how we view native predators of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). BMSB is an invasive species that was accidentally introduced to the United States from Asia in Pennsylvania, and has since been detected in more than 40 U.S. states. It feeds on more than 150 plant species, making it a large threat to many agricultural systems in the country.

Researchers with the USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station and Shepherd University evaluated 25 native generalist natural enemy species collected from the field as potential predators of BMSB egg masses in the laboratory. 

To better evaluate and characterize damage inflicted by the various predators, the researchers photographed egg masses before and after predator exposure with the aim of linking egg damage to specific groups or guilds of predators.

Predators were also observed using videography, and some interesting behaviors emerged.  Bottom line, results suggest that native predators may not be getting as much credit as they deserve in the biological control of BMSB. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

USDA-APHIS Associate Administrator Shares some Trade Accomplishments

This USDA-Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Stakeholder Registry Release is worth a read. GKD 

March 14, 2016
Dear Stakeholders:

Now more than ever, producers need access to the global marketplace to expand their businesses and enhance their profitability. This is a message that is reinforced every time we meet with commodity representatives. These groups have come to rely on APHIS’ pivotal role in maintaining existing markets and negotiating new market opportunities based on sound science and meaningful protocols.

APHIS leads the way working with our programs to manage and resolve Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) trade issues. In fiscal year (FY) 2015 alone, we facilitated and provided in-country support to successfully resolve 171 trade-related issues involving $2.5 billion in U.S. agricultural exports.

Our trade staff helped negotiate market access to China for all apple varieties from all U.S. states—a market worth an estimated $100 million. They also facilitated highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)-related outreach and negotiations that helped the United States retain $248.9 million in poultry exports during the worst animal disease outbreak in U.S. history. At the same time, they were instrumental in the negotiations that removed long-standing trade restrictions around bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to allow more than $13 million in exports. Finally, they were significant in retaining our $168.7 million wheat exports to Brazil and Kenya by conducting outreach around flag smut.

APHIS also leads several pest control programs in the Americas designed to reduce or eliminate populations of pests like Screwworm, Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly), and Mexican fruit fly (Mexfly). These pests can impact trade if they are found here in the United States, and although we have battled a number of fruit fly outbreaks this year, it could have been far worse without this pro-active work beyond our borders.

I could fill several more pages with the work we are doing around the world to maintain markets and foster new opportunities overseas, but I hope what I have shared underscores the priority APHIS places on exports, and you can expect more of the same in 2016.

Dr. Jere Dick, Associate Administrator, USDA APHIS