HERO: Human-Environment Regional Observatory

Beetle-Impact Assessment (BIA)

A new research stream is beginning summer of 2012. This research stream uses geoinformatics-based mapping and species distribution modeling/validation techniques to answer the overarching research question: How has the Massachusetts Asian Longhorned beetle invasion impacted the urban environment in terms of forest diversity, cover/density/configuration, and what are the likely future impacts? Answers to this question will carry broad scientific and policy appeal to vulnerability and urban/landscape ecology communities, as well as invasive species modeling research, because east-central Massachusetts is an exemplary test-site to study and understand a severe insect invasion in from an environmental and policy-mitigation perspective.  The HERO-BIA research stream studies urban tree cover loss and its environmental impacts as a result of ALB infestation using a landscape ecology-vulnerability framework. The BIA research stream will contribute to a burgeoning body of knowledge concerning urban forest sustainability, as well as invasive insect species impacts on forest condition in the United States.