In DepthForest Science

Can ‘sentinel trees’ warn of devastating pests?

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Science  27 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6485, pp. 1417
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6485.1417

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Summary

It's become an all-too-common tale: An introduced insect takes hold in a new home and then spreads, wreaking havoc with ecosystems and economies. Now, in a bid to prevent such catastrophes—and get an early warning of which exotic pests are likely to cause trouble—researchers from the United States, Europe, and China are trying a new approach: planting "sentinel trees" from their own regions in distant nations, and then observing which insects attack. The findings should help authorities more quickly recognize and snuff out threatening introduced insects if they show up in the trees' native countries.

  • Gabriel Popkin is a journalist in Mount Rainier, Maryland.

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