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Forest Health Protection

Forest Health Protection programs emphasize protecting the long-term health and sustainability of our forests. Our major responsibilities are to assist the States with implementing their forest health programs and to provide forest health support on National Forests and other Federal lands. Activities include identification and evaluation of insect and disease problems, provision of resource materials and management recommendations in forests and nurseries, training in hazard tree management, and assistance with major forest pest control projects.

- View our featured resources and publications in the Insects and Diseases, Invasive Plants, and Managing your Land topic pages, or search our full Publications & Resources Library.

- Learn more about the national Forest Health Protection Program

Forest Health Management

The Forest Health Management component of Forest Health Protection, together with State, Federal and other partners, aims to protect and improve the health of the forest in both the rural and urban landscape. The goal is to minimize impacts from native insects and diseases and also pests that arrive from other places around the world.

A core team of skilled entomologists and pathologists work with State forestry and agricultural departments to provide technical insect and disease management advice.

The entomologists and pathologists also provide direct management assistance to Federal forest land managers on National Forests and lands administered by the Department of Defense, Department of the Interior, and tribal governments in the form of site visits, biological evaluations, and training.

The role of the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry in Forest Health Management is closely related to the role in Survey and Technical Assistance.

Cooperative Prevention and Suppression Projects are provided with Federal cost share and technical assistance to protect private, State, and Federal lands from the impacts of insect and disease agents. An example of this is the gypsy moth.

Gypsy Moth Digest

The Gypsy Moth Digest is a database containing information about gypsy moth defoliation, and suppression, eradication, and slow-the-spread treatments nationally. Our Forest Health Protection staff collects this data annually and incorporates it into the Gypsy Moth Digest. If you use this information, please cite the USDA Forest Service Gypsy Moth Digest as the source.

Oak Wilt Disease

Oak Wilt Disease is a fungal disease affecting oak trees caused by the fungus Bretiziella fagacearum. Symptoms vary by tree species, but generally consist of leaf discoloration, wilt, defoliation, and death. The fungus spreads from diseased to healthy trees from insects or by connections between tree roots. This map shows the exent of infection in 2017.

Pesticide Use Management

The Forest Health Protection staff of the USDA Forest Service is responsible for managing and coordinating the proper use of pesticides within the National Forest System. The staff is also responsible for providing technical advice and support, and for conducting training to maintain technical expertise. In order to achieve this function, the Forest Service maintains a cadre of Pesticide Coordinators and specialists located at Regional Offices and at some Forest Supervisors' offices.

We also provide technical pesticide information and coordination on the use of pesticides in the States served by the Northeastern Area.

Survey and Technical Assistance

Survey and Technical Assistance includes a network of surveys detect forest health conditions and provision of technical information in the form of publications and other resource materials.

Each year the individual field offices conduct aerial surveys of Federal lands to detect areas of significant insect and disease damage. Other pest surveys are conducted as appropriate for specific pests.

Forest Health Protection provides technical assistance to all land managers through the development of publications and other resource materials.

Special Technology Development Program

The Special Technology Development Program accelerates the transfer of research findings into practical uses that contribute to these goals:

  • Provide forest health protection for all lands
  • Anticipate and respond to new or increasing forest health risks and threats
  • Prevent, detect, and manage nonindigenous pest infestations
  • Manage damaging native pest infestations (prevention and suppression)

Project proposals are submitted through the Northeastern Area for funding consideration as part of a nationwide competitive process. Projects are led by Forest Service employees responsible for delivery of Forest Health Protection programs and frequently involve cooperation with other staffs or organizations.

The project range includes risk assessments, semiochemical evaluations, demonstrations of integrated pest management techniques, simulation and visualization models of insect and pathogen impacts, development of pest control techniques, and evaluation of the effects of management tools such as prescribed burning, spraying, and thinning.

The Northeastern Area participates in the Special Technology Development Program by evaluating preproposals from cooperators and then submitting a total of five fully developed proposals to the national selection committee. Preproposals are generally requested in July for evaluation by a panel that includes at least one State cooperator, and Forest Service Research and Forest Health Protection entomologists and pathologists. The principal investigators of the top five proposals are then requested to submit full proposals that are forwarded on to the national selection panel in mid-October.

Information on this program within Northeastern Area can be obtained by contacting STDP Coordinator, at (610) 557-4113 or via e-mail at

Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team

Pest Trend Impact Plot System

The Pest Trend Impact Plot System consists of permanent forested plots with data collected over time, to monitor the behavior, trends, and impacts of insect and pathogen pests in a variety of forest types and environmental conditions. The original focus was in the western United States with the majority of existing plots residing there. The Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry joined the program in 2000 and has focused on beech bark disease and gypsy moth.

Cooperators assist with projects by collecting data on existing plots and installing new plots in under-sampled forest conditions using standardized methodology. Cooperators also help by developing a database used to develop, calibrate, and validate insect and pathogen models.

The Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry participates by evaluating preproposals from potential cooperators and forwarding revised proposals to the national selection committee. Preproposals are requested during the summer and proposals forwarded on to the National selection in October. Selected projects are then funded through the Northeastern Area prior to the field season of the following year.

More information about this program can be obtained by contacting Jim Steinman, Forest Health Monitoring Coordinator, at (610) 557-4158 or via e-mail at

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