Will chopping down 33,000 trees in Worcester, Massachusetts, save other forests from the destructive Asian longhorned beetle?
Scientists are trying to answer that question as they battle an invasion that probably began 20 years ago in this central Massachusetts city that sits near the wild, natural forests that stretch north to Maine and beyond. Burns, who began her investigations as a resident of the affected area concerned about losing the trees around her, provides a clear, evenhanded description of this difficult issue. For now, chopping down trees and chipping their wood is the only known way to eradicate the pest. But it takes 30 years for new trees to mature. Is it worth it? The author provides solid background for her readers to ponder this question. Chapter by chapter she introduces the arresting-looking beetle, the trees that host it (more than a dozen species are vulnerable), the team of scientists and foresters working in Worcester, and research efforts in a nearby small forest. She presents data available so far and looks ahead to the likelihood of success in the larger battle across the country. Her narrative is framed by the experience of a teen who saw his favorite forest area cut and has watched it regrow. It’s enhanced by Harasimowicz’s clear photographs.
A splendid example of science controversy in everyday life. (author’s note, resources, glossary, bibliography and acknowledgements, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)