USDA Forest Service

Gypsy Moth In North America


Res. Work Unit NE-4557
180 Canfield ST.
Morgantown, WV 26505

(304) 285-1503

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

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Gypsy Moth Effects

GYPSY MOTH - FOREST EFFECTS Despite over 100 years of presence in North America, researchers are still at a loss to explain and predict the extent of the changes in forest vegetation likely to take place through gypsy moth disturbance. A major concern is the potential loss of economically critical and ecologically dominant oak species (Quercus, spp.). Most studies of forest compositional changes with gypsy moth defoliation indicate that less susceptible species will dominate the forest, so in effect, forests may have fewer gypsy moth problems in the future. In general, what the forest will look like after gypsy moth defoliation depends in part on where you are. Following substantial defoliation by gypsy moth, an assessment of woody species regeneration indicates that red maple is the clear dominant in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In these formerly oak-dominated forests, oak regeneration accounts for barely 10% of all regeneration. Naturally, the composition will change slightly over time, but it is obvious that gypsy moth acts as a mechanism to temporally disengage succession as exploitive species like red maple dominate the landscape.

This material was prepared by Rose-Marie Muzika (MUZIKA@MISSOURI.EDU),
University of Missouri
School of Natural Resources
203 Anheuser Busch Natural Resources Bldg
Columbia, MO 65211

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USDA Forest Service - Northeastern Research Station
Last Modified: Friday, 22 August 2003 at 17:48:24 EDT

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