The Alaska Forest Health Protection (FHP) Program works to protect Alaska forest and tree resources from damaging outbreaks of insects, diseases, and invasive plants. FHP does this by providing timely survey and monitoring information, and technical and financial assistance, to Federal, State, and private land managers so they can prevent, suppress, and control outbreaks of forest pests. FHP also helps to maintain, enhance, or restore healthy forest conditions and works in partnership with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and State agencies to detect and eradicate newly introduced exotic organisms.
The 2014 Forest Health Conditions Report is available! This report reviews our current knowledge of forest health in Alaska. Its purpose is to help resource professionals, land managers, and other decision makers identify and monitor existing and potential forest health risks and hazards. The report is based on data collected in annual aerial detection surveys, ground surveys, permanent plot monitoring efforts, follow-ups to public requests, and input, and early detection work. Emphasis is given to damaging agents observed in 2014. Readers need to be mindful that this is not a complete survey of the 127 million forested acres in Alaska. The report is organized around the status of four categories of damaging agents: insect pests, diseases, noninfectious disorders, and invasive plants.
FHP Invasive Species webpage -
A place to find more information about selected invasive species of concern in Alaska. Elodea, an aquatic plant described below, is one of those species.
Elodea (Elodea spp.)
This commonly-used aquarium plant was likely introduced into several of Alaska’s wild waterways by people dumping aquaria. Thick beds of Elodea damage aquatic habitat in a variety of ways, including by preventing fish passage. The plant reproduces vegetatively; only a small piece is needed to start a new infestation. Now Elodea is being spread unintentionally by pilots when plant material gets caught on floatplane floats.
Protecting Southwestern Alaska from Invasive Species – A Guide in the English and Yup’ik Languages
This new Yup'ik-English guide to invasive species is a first for the Forest Service and a practical identification and prevention tool for Bush Alaska.
Southwestern Alaska is comprised of vast stretches of forests,wetlands and mountains, much of which is remote wilderness. Scattered across this landscape are roughly 120 communities many of whose residents live subsistence lifestyles and observe traditional cultures closely tied to the natural environment. The Yup’ik people of southwestern Alaska represent over 25,000 individuals, about half of this area’s population, and are the largest group of Native Alaskans fluent in their traditional language. The logistical difficulty of reaching many parts of Southwestern Alaska has helped to protect its ecosystems, and maintains them in a relatively pristine condition. For this reason invasive species and the problems they create have been relatively unheard of in these communities. However, those individuals, families and communities dependent on subsistence resources are likely to be the ones most severely impacted by the introduction of an invasive species.
The people’s strong sense of stewardship, wealth of traditional knowledge, and limited routes of transportation are key components of preventing invasive species from disrupting the ecosystems of Southwest Alaska. Learning how invasive plants, insects and animals spread and interact with their environment, how other communities have worked to prevent or eradicate them, and what resources exist to help control the spread of exotic organisms may be critical to preserving the landscape and culture for future generations.
The Alaska Region of the USDA Forest Service and the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, with the help and contributions of many individuals and organizations from around the State, have produced the booklet “Kellutellra Alaskam Ungalaqlirnera Eniaritulinun Itrallerkaaneng - Maaryartekaq Kassat Yup’iit-llu Qaneryaraigtun –Protecting Southwestern Alaska from Invasive Species – A Guide in the English and Yup’ik Languages”. This booklet contains information in both languages, side-by-side, on how invasive species spread and affect ecosystems; stories of from across the State on how invasive species are impacting Alaska, and how local communities and organizations are responding; a selection of invasive species of concern to Southwestern Alaska; and a summary of resources that are available for those concerned about invasive species moving into their communities.
See our recently published book: "Hazard Trees in Alaska: A Guide to the Identification and Management of Hazard Trees in Alaska" by Lori Trummer and Paul Hennon.
This book was designed to provide managers with basic information about hazard trees. We present the information with a logical flow from hazard tree concepts to recognition, evaluation, and lastly prevention. Hazard profiles of Alaskan trees are included that describe the common defects and a general failure potential for the various tree species. A chapter is included on safe backcountry travel principles around hazard trees. References are included for further information on this topic.
A leaflet designed to bring awareness of hazard trees to the backcountry traveler is available here for download or hardcopies can be obtained from one of our offices.
Insects and Diseases of Alaskan Forests: Book
A discussion of the forests of Alaska and invasive pests follows the introduction. A short description of insects and diseases affecting general parts of a plant follows next and directs the reader to the appropriate insect or disease section. For each insect or disease, a summary of its hosts, distribution, identification, damage, remarks, and references are provided. A specific index of insect or disease by host plant follows each respective section. The handbook concludes with a glossary, bibliography, appendix for submitting insects or diseases for identification, photography and illustration credits, and finally a general index.
Not every insect or disease in Alaska is covered in this handbook. Some are omitted because of limited distribution or minor importance, and others are awaiting more comprehensive surveys and information on their economic or ecological importance. Few chemical suppression measures are included for the organisms covered in this manual because many new control measures are quickly outdated or discarded with new advances, recognition of environmental hazards, or lack of benefit/cost effectiveness. Please refer to the nearest office of the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service or State and Private Forestry, U.S. Forest Service for information concerning specific control measures.