Hemlock Decline Impact Assessment

Research Team:

Jessica Mitchell, Geography and Planning
Jeff Colby, Geography and Planning
Derek Martin, Geography and Planning
Mike Madritch, Biology
John Whitehead, Economics

Project Summary:

This collaboration addresses the environmental and economic consequences of hemlock decline as an increasingly significant regional issue in the Southern Appalachians.  Hemlock decline as a result of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid is a growing research interest among ASU facutly, federal and state land management and extension agencies, and local conservation groups.  A cluster of interdisciplinary faculty have organized efforts to synthesize existing information and collect new data that are needed to broadly assess the impact of hemlock mortality on natural and socioeconomic resources.  The remainder of this project will focus on completing the analysis of data that were collected for this study in FY 2016 to determine ecological, aquatic and economic impacts.  The analyses include 1) predicting hemlock needed constituents from wet chemistry using spectral reflectance measurements, 2) quantifying aquatic features using terrestrial laser scanning, 3) predicting the distribution of healthy and diseased hemlock on private and public lands, and 4) conducting an economic impact analysis for the South Fork of the New River watershed.