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Foreign Insects Threaten our Environment

April 10, 2012 12:28 by Bran

By the year 1900, foreign insects were already being brought over to America from Europe.  Balsam woolly adelgids, which feast on trees like the Balsam Fir and the Fraser Fir, have since destroyed approximately 95 percent of Fraser Firs located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  And that's just one example of how bug imports are affecting the U.S. environment, according to a recent study by researchers at University of California. reports that "almost 70 percent of the most damaging non-native forest insects and diseases currently afflicting U.S. forests arrived via imported live plants."  The study reveals that throughout the past 43 years, over 500 percent more plant imports have made their way into the U.S., usually destined for Florida or California.

But the problem is that insects come along for the ride, and a fraction of these bugs become serious economic pests.

However, imports of live plants from outside America are not likely to slow.  According to Andrew Liebhold, a researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "As global trade expands, our knowledge of pest pathways must be improved to ensure trade is accomplished with minimal environmental degradation."

Should there be an increase in bio security (greater efforts at plant inspection sites, for example) to help protect America's environment?