Beech bark disease topic of Paul Smith's College lecture

PAUL SMITHS - Since beech bark disease first appeared in the Adirondacks 40 years ago, more than just beech have been threatened.

Wildlife managers are concerned about the loss of beech nuts so critical in these northern forests for wildlife food. And other valuable species, such as sugar maple, can be crowded out by beech saplings, which sprout prolifically.

Paul Smith's College ecology professor Dr. Celia Evans will discuss the effects of forest management on beech bark disease and the landscape during a lecture on Friday, April 16, from 10:10 - 11 a.m. in the Pine Room, Joan Weill Student Center. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Evans and several students have worked for several years to compare Adirondack forests where management has occurred since the disease was introduced to forests in preserved status. They have evaluated the severity of beech bark disease, and beech and sugar maple populations, in both types of forests.

Beech bark disease is caused by beech scale insects that make the tree susceptible to a fungus that creates cankers on the trees.

"Typically, only about 1 percent of beech trees are resistant to the disease agents," Evans said. "But preserved forests have a greater proportion of beech that are disease-free or -resistant than their managed counterparts."

Evans' talk will assess management's influence on the regeneration of disease-resistant trees, and the possible implications of that.

The college's Fisheries and Wildlife Seminar Series and World of Forestry Seminar Series are co-sponsoring the lecture.

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