Researchers Identify Priority Seed Collection Locations to Aid Future Hemlock Restoration


Prioritized_hemlock_populations_NewForests2017.jpgEastern and Carolina hemlock trees in more than 400 counties across 19 states are dead, dying, or threatened by infestation of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid. As the aphid-like pest continues to spread throughout the ranges of these economically and ecologically important trees, scientists, managers, and other specialists from North Carolina State University’s (NCSU) Camcore program are racing to collect and store seeds with support from the U.S. Forest Service. To identify priority seed collection locations across the entire range of both hemlock species, NCSU and Eastern Threat Center scientists combined information on density of seed collection to date, climate data, measures of hemlock abundance and population isolation, and four genetic diversity measures. Then, for each cell on maps depicting where eastern and Carolina hemlock occur, the combined information was compared and ranked. Their results, recently published in New Forests, include new maps that can help conservationists prioritize locations for seed collection, necessary for off-site plantings and breeding programs designed to restore hemlocks in the future. Kevin Potter, an NCSU scientist cooperating with the Eastern Threat Center, and Center research ecologist Frank Koch coauthored the study. Read more in CompassLive...

Pictured: Maps show prioritized locations for seed collection from eastern (left) and Carolina hemlock populations. Red indicates the highest priority. Click to enlarge.


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