Native trees are extremely valuable in the landscape, serving as the backbone of design while supporting wildlife, providing shade, absorbing rainwater and carbon dioxide, and releasing oxygen. Yet these ecosystem services are at risk—along with our planting choices—as many species of trees are in trouble due to diseases, pests, climate change, and other pressures. Discover the importance of native trees, the threats they face, efforts to protect them, and what you can do to strengthen their resilience.
The Thousand-Year Wood: Our Enduring Reliance on Trees
People have had a long and intimate, cooperative relationship with trees. Proper care for the landscape increases its diversity, promoting the number and kinds of insects, birds, and other creatures that interact with trees. In return, trees give us medicines, foods, clothes, and wood as well as beauty, fresh air, and cooling shade. Rather than an idyll of an ancient world, it is a model for a continued, active appreciation of our native trees.
William Bryant Logan is the founder and president of Urban Arborists, a tree care firm in New York City. He is the author of the acclaimed books Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, Oak: The Frame of Civilization, and Air: The Restless Shaper of the World. An instructor at The New York Botanical Garden, he is the recipient of awards from the New York State Arborists and the International Society of Arboriculture.
Trees Under Siege: Pests, Pathogens, and Other Threats
Many valued native tree species are facing multiple threats in the form of invasive pests, pathogens, and other environmental stressors such as deer and climate change. Learn about the particular problems causing the decline of these trees, control options, and the ongoing efforts to reduce these negative impacts.
Carrie Brown-Lima, Director of the New York Invasive Species Research Institute at Cornell University, partners with researchers and practitioners to improve invasive species prevention and control efforts. She has worked for 20 years in natural resource conservation and management, including more than a decade developing conservation strategies in Brazil and throughout Latin America.
Protecting Our Forests from Invasive Pests
Insects and diseases from other continents are killing our trees and devastating our forests, causing ecological consequences and economic costs. Find out the destructive impacts of these pests, how they enter the country, regulations in place to prevent their importation, and what can be done to block their pathways in the future.
Gary Lovett, PhD, is a senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY, where he studies the effects of air pollution, climate change, and invasive insects and diseases on forests. He leads an alliance of scientists promoting Tree-SMART-Trade, which recommends high-priority policy actions to combat forest insects and pathogens.
Planting Guide: Native Trees You Can’t Live Without
The alarming news about native trees in trouble may lead you to wonder which species are prudent to plant. Native trees are still the best choices for providing canopy, shade, and wildlife in your landscape. Discover new strains and cultivars of some favorites and others that may be novel to your palette.
Christopher Roddick is Foreman of Grounds at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where for more than 20 years he has developed the garden’s tree-care program. An ISA-certified arborist, he is coauthor of The Tree Care Primer.
Horticulture / Plants
Health, Safety and Welfare
1) Learn the cultural and ecological importance of native trees.
2) Learn the particular pests, pathogens, and other threats causing the decline of native trees.
3) Learn the ecological and economic impacts to forests due to insects and diseases and what can be done to protect our forests.
4) Learn which tree species, cultivars, strains can be planted in light of the various species of native trees in trouble.
William Bryant Logan is the founder and president of Urban Arborists, a tree care firm in New York City. He is the author of the acclaimed books Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, Oak: The Frame of Civilization, and Air: The Restless Shaper of the World
The Native Plant Center