Invasive species threaten Tennessee forests

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – The fight to protect East Tennessee’s forests from two invasive species continues to expand.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the emerald ash borer has been found in 47 of the state’s 95 counties, while 40 counties are known to be infested with the Hemlock woolly adelgid.

The number of Tennessee counties with an emerald ash borer presence has more than doubled since 2013. Chattanooga city forester Gene Hyde says the invasive beetles are “pretty much unstoppable.”

Woolly adelgids were found in Knoxville in 2010 and have spread across the eastern part of the state since then. The University of Tennessee maintains a lab that produces woolly adelgid-eating beetles and releases them in hopes they eat the adelgid, reproduce and spread to other areas.

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