Project: Research project

Project Details


a population of the spotted lanternfly (slf), a sap-feeding insect from china, was found in southeastern pennsylvania in 2014 and has since spread to at least 13 counties in pa as well as nj, va, ny, and de. slf poses a significant threat to the forest products industry with its broad host range among hardwood trees, including valuable timber species such as maples, black walnut, yellow-poplar, and oaks. currently, little is understood regarding the impacts of slf on host tree physiology and vigor. the massive amount of sap feeding by slf can drastically reduce carbohydrate stores for the tree, and may have lasting effects on tree health. we also do not know what level of pest pressure results in significant tree injury.slf is difficult to detect in the field until it reaches high populations, and we have no information from the native or introduced ranges regarding short- or long-term impacts on hardwood tree health or forest productivity in natural or managed systems. we hypothesize that slf feeding disrupts and alters sugar, water, and nutrient dynamics in the plant, and over time, will eventually reduce tree health and ultimately forest address identified knowledge gaps, we aim to: (1) develop remote sensing techniques using drones equipped with visible (vis) and near-infrared (nir) portions of the spectrum to monitor the tree canopy in areas infested by slf, enabling more rapid detection of new infestations, spread of existing infestations, and estimates of population density and tree damage; and (2) assess impacts on tree health as a function of slf population density in forest plots and planted trees in a controlled study.we expect to deliver (1) remote sensing imagery methods for monitoring slf populations and tree damage in the landscape, verified by 'ground-truthing' that can be used by researchers and regulatory agencies to detect new infestation and follow existing slf populations on the ground; and (2) information on tree health and physiological changes as a function of slf population density. understanding how slf population density affects tree health and/or if it re-infests the same trees the following year will allow managers to make more informed decisions about when or if treatment with insecticides is necessary.
Effective start/end date11/9/189/30/20


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture


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