Eastern Old-Growth Forests under Threat: Changing Dynamics due to Invasive Organisms
One of the most serious threats facing forests in North America is the introduction of plants, pests, and pathogens from other countries (Dukes et al. 2009). This chapter will discuss the mechanisms and impacts of the invasion of these organisms into old forest stands and summarize the stand and landscape factors that make old-growth forests susceptible to these threats. Due to increases in the global movement of products around the world, introductions of plants, pests, and pathogens are increasing and can significantly alter the structure, composition, function, and aesthetics of forests and the habitat they provide (Lovett et al. 2016). Many introduced species pose little or no threat to forested ecosystems, but there is a growing number of species that have already caused serious damage or pose serious threats to our old-growth forests (tables 12-1 and 12-2). While we recognize that native pests and pathogens also exist and can negatively impact forests, we focus here on introduced species that will or could directly impact eastern old-growth forests and the common tree species found therein.
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