Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Kevin M. Bigsby; Mark J. Ambrose; Patrick C. Tobin; Erin O. Sills
    Date: 2014
    Source: Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (469.38 KB)


    Since its introduction in the 1860s, gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (L.), has periodically defoliated large swaths of forest in the eastern United States. Prior research has suggested that the greatest costs and losses from these outbreaks accrue in residential areas, but these impacts have not been well quantified. We addressed this lacuna with a case study of Baltimore City. Using two urban tree inventories, we estimated potential costs and losses from a range of gypsy moth outbreak scenarios under different environmental and management conditions. We combined outbreak scenarios with urban forest data to model defoliation and mortality and based the costs and losses on the distribution of tree species in different size classes and land uses through out Baltimore City. In each outbreak, we estimated the costs of public and private suppression, tree removal and replacement, and human medical treatment, as well as the losses associated with reduced pollution uptake, increased carbon emissions and foregone sequestration. Of the approximately 2.3 M trees in Baltimore City, a majority of the basal area was primary or secondary host for gypsy moth. Under the low outbreak scenario, with federal and state suppression efforts, total costs and losses were $5.540 M, much less than the $63.666 M estimated for the high outbreak scenario, in which the local public and private sectors were responsible for substantially greater tree removal and replacement costs. The framework that we created can be used to estimate the impacts of other non-native pests in urban environments.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Bigsby,Kevin M.; Ambrose, Mark J.; Tobin, Patrick C.; Sills, Erin O. 2014. The cost of gypsy moth sex in the city. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 13(3):459-468.


    Biological invasions Economic assessment Lymantria dispar Non-native forestpests Residential impacts Urban forestry

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page