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Invasive plants and an overpopulation of deer are decimating Pennsylvania’s forests

Michael French, director of operations for the nonprofit Green Forests Work, pulls up soil in an area of virgin spruce forest in Monongahela National Forest, W.Va., on Aug. 27, 2019. French and colleagues at Green Forests Work are collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service to restore native Appalachian forests and the rare species they support.

Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

Michael French, director of operations for the nonprofit Green Forests Work, pulls up soil in an area of virgin spruce forest in Monongahela National Forest, W.Va., on Aug. 27, 2019. French and colleagues at Green Forests Work are collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service to restore native Appalachian forests and the rare species they support.

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Airdate: Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The threat to Pennsylvania’s forests might not be what you think.

Uncontrolled development is often cited as the greatest threat to the state’s wilderness and forested areas. But the threat is also coming from within.

Researchers say that invasive plants and bugs are what is really threatening urban forests and are a “catastrophe in the making.

Ryan Utz, Ph.D., an assistant professor of water resources at Chatham University, and Walter Carson, Ph.D., an associate professor of plant community ecology at the University of Pittsburgh, are researching the causes and possible solutions to the growing problem.  Both join Smart Talk Wednesday to offer their thoughts on how to combat the damage caused by invasive plants and the deer population.

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