Weatherford Democrat

Community News Network

December 23, 2013

Despair over 'the bug that ate Christmas'

(Continued)

"The Fraser fir is . . . in peril, badly affected by this adelgid," said Andrew Liebhold, a research entomologist for the U.S. Forest Service in Morgantown, W.Va.

"I don't expect them to totally disappear in my lifetime," Liebhold said. But the die-off of Fraser firs at Mount Mitchell is a major concern. Younger trees are growing there now, "but the danger is when they're older" and reach 20 feet, a height at which, for unknown reasons, adelgids crave their sap.

Balsam firs, including the Canaan and Fraser varieties, are common in North America, especially from Massachusetts to Maine and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. They thrive in cold areas mainly because adelgids struggle to survive in exceedingly cold temperatures.

But farther south, the trees struggle. Climate change could worsen the problem, Powell said, if temperatures warm in the northern range, Massachusetts and much of New England.

Christmas trees in American forests are home to birds, and, in the Canaan Valley, the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, which was recently taken off the endangered species list.

"It's part of our national heritage, people have gone out to get their own tree for generations, and this is the prize tree they went for," Powell said.

The balsam woolly adelgid is an uninvited guest in North America, but it's been around so long that it seems like part of the family. It came from Europe before the 1900s, when there were no regulations guarding against invasive pests, Jill Sidebottom, a forestry extension specialist at North Carolina State University, wrote in an essay last year.

It probably arrived in New England and moved into the southern Appalachians in the 1950s, where the population probably exploded. It "has caused the destruction of the Fraser fir in the natural stands," Sidebottom wrote.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Emmy nominations: 8 snub shockers

    A lot of beloved shows and stars got  Emmy nominations on Thursday morning but there were definitely some snub shockers.

    July 10, 2014

  • Survey shows colleges flouting sexual assault rules

    More than 40 percent of 440 colleges and universities surveyed by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., haven't investigated a sexual assault in the past five years, according to a report released Wednesday.

    July 9, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Poll

The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

Yes
No
Undecided
Don't care
     View Results