Report: Insects, diseases pose threats to Michigan forests

Posted at 3:52 AM, Mar 22, 2017

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has released an update on the health of the state’s forests, including threats posed by insects and diseases.

Michigan’s 20 million acres of forest land supports recreation, forest products and other industries while providing crucial wildlife habitat.

The report outlines efforts to control spruce budworm, a pest that periodically defoliates spruce and fir forests. It says infestations probably will increase over the next 10 years. Experts are looking for high-risk areas in state forests.

Another problem is the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that kills hemlock trees. It turned up in the west-central Lower Peninsula in 2015. State agencies are working on a strategy to contain it.

The report describes other health issues and research underway to deal with them.