Booming caterpillar population removes 30,000 acres of foliage | New Hampshire News

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NORTH CONWAY, NH (AP) – Surveyors from the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands have discovered widespread defoliation attributed to a population boom in moth caterpillars.

Kyle Lombard, the division’s forest health program coordinator, said the department investigated 20% of the state and found 30,000 acres of defoliation.

The affected trees are mostly clumps of red and black oaks, WCVB-TV reported.

According to the department, the last time the state experienced more than 10,000 to 15,000 acres of defoliation was in 1992.

Lombard said areas with a lot of oak trees will look strange; however, defoliation is not expected to affect the foliage season. The trees that largely produce the bright oranges, reds, and yellows are primarily maples, aspens, and ash, which are unaffected by moth larvae.

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Lombard said the real concern is that if the butterfly population continues to explode, it will increase the amount of dry brush over a larger area.

“If this thing spans another 60,000 acres and jumps through the Lake District and into Grafton County, then you’re talking about fire hazards in some of these ventral and northern parts of Belknap,” he said. -he declares.

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