Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Trees in Trouble

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Trees in Trouble

Article excerpt

Trees in Trouble By Andrea Torrice. 2015. $250. Bullfrog Films. Oley, PA. 2015. ISBN: 9781941545475.

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From a public health standpoint, trees can be a matter of life or death. Trees clean the air and water, cool their surroundings, and create animal habitats; and studies show that their presence in communities appears to lower the incidence of cardiac and respiratory disease. This video, focusing on Cincinnati, Ohio, addresses the serious problems facing trees in urban forests. Trees cover 39% of Cincinnati, filling parks and lining streets. But many are ash trees, blighted by a tiny green Asian beetle, the emerald ash borer (EAB). This invasive species has devastated the native ash trees, which have no natural defenses against the insect.

Ash trees are important in many U.S. habitats, including flood plains, riparian environments, uplands, and swamp ecosystems. These trees are valuable for feeding birds and animals and providing wood for baseball bats, flooring, and other products, and their brilliant yellow leaves are a major contribution to autumn color panoramas.

As the ash trees die, other plants and animals can suffer a "cascading effect." Removing the afflicted trees reduces shade and affects property values, cooling costs, and community health. By 2019, the EAB infestation could spread to all states where ash trees grow and lead to a possible extinction of native ash trees.

Cincinnati treats some of the trees with pesticides and is replacing many others with species not endangered by the EAB. …

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