A recent study published in Journal of Applied Ecology finds that urban trees can survive increased heat and insect pests fairly well – unless they are thirsty. Insufficient water not only harms trees, but allows other problems to have an outsized effect on trees in urban environments.
“We would see some vibrant urban trees covered in scale insects, but we’d also see other clearly stressed and struggling urban trees covered in scale insects,” says Emily Meineke, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard and first author of a paper on the study.
“We wanted to know what allowed some trees to deal with these pests so much more successfully.”
“This is important because trees need to grow in order to perform valuable ecosystem services, such as removing pollutants from the air and storing carbon,” says Steve Frank, an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University and co-author of the paper. MORE