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MDNR releases update on the health of Michigan forests

Hemlock woolly adelgid
Michigan DNR
A branch infested with hemlock woolly adelgid, which MDNR cites as a major threat to Michigan's forests.

Insects and diseases are posing a threat to Michigan's forests.

That's according to a report released yesterday by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The report, which is a part of the National Forest Health Monitoring Program, includes an analysis of issues that threaten Michigan's 20 million acres of forest land for 2016.

The MDNR highlighted the continuing problem of hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that kills hemlock trees that was first discovered in 2015. The agency has proposed a quarantine to try and limit the disease from spreading beyond western Michigan.

Another crucial takeaway is the discovery of Heterobasidion root disease (HRD) in Mason, Muskegon, and Luce counties. HRD is an extremely destructive fungus that can commonly be found in managed forests. It especially affects pine trees, but can also infect balsam fir and white spruce.

The report also found increases in spruce budworm, oak wilt, redheaded pine sawfly, and other insects and diseases. The MDNR outlined various efforts to contain many of the threats.

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