First posted on 10-24-2012
Red fire ants, thousand cankers disease, kudzu, zebra mussels and emerald ash borers are just a few of the invasive species that cost the U.S. up to $130 billion annually in both damage and preventative measures. Add to that a recent study discovering that 47 percent of firewood bundles purchased from big box stores, gas stations and grocery stores were laden with live insects, and the problem of importing invasive species becomes even more acute.
Counting information as the best defense against invasives, the Arkansas Forest Resources Center just launched a new website at http://www.ARInvasives.org. The site is dedicated to managing forest pests.
“We have two primary goals with this web site,” said Jon Barry, an extension forester for the University of Arkansas. “First, we want to make people more aware of the problems caused by invasive pests. That $130 billion a year estimate is growing as old pests spread and new pests arrive.”
Management of invasive pests starts with identification as well as knowledge about the harm they can do to the environment. Solutions include what we can do to help restrain their progress.
“If invasive pests bug you, use this website as a resource to learn more about them,” Barry said.
A secondary goal of the site is to engage trained and qualified individuals to act as sentries for invasives in the state. Barry appealed to people who work in fields and forests to serve as spotters. He urged those folks to visit the site for announcements about training opportunities.
“ARInvasives.org is focused on six forest invasive pests that may threaten Arkansas in the future, but also includes information about invasive pests already in Arkansas,” Barry said. “We will be continually updating the web site and adding new information and new invasive pests, so drop by often and see what is new.”
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