Since sneaking into North America in the 1950s, a tiny insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid, spread across eastern forests, killing nearly 90 percent of our eastern and Carolina hemlock trees. Meanwhile, the balsam woolly adelgid crept into every fir stand in the Southern Appalachians, killing more than 95 percent of mature Fraser fir trees.

Hybrids in potting mix

Hybrids in potting mix

The Forest Restoration Alliance is a nonprofit group of researchers across universities, the National Arboretum, and the USDA Forest Service committed to rebuilding our adelgid-affected forests. By tracking adelgid spread and tree resistance through citizen science, selectively breeding and replanting resistant trees, and harvesting seeds from clonal orchards with resistant trees, the Forest Restoration Alliance works to achieve long-term forest stability.

Mission: We work to restore healthy forests and landscapes in eastern America by researching and addressing invasive pest threats to hemlocks, firs and other native trees.

Vision: We envision healthy forests and landscapes with resilient trees that support the ecological, commercial, recreational, and aesthetic values of eastern America.

To achieve this, we will research and breed hemlocks, firs, and other native trees that are resistant to invasive forest pests. Activities include:

  •         Identify and research the threats to hemlocks and firs caused by invasive pests.
  •         Identify hemlocks and firs that resist woolly adelgids and investigate the mechanisms responsible for resistance.
  •         Develop improved hemlocks and firs that are resistant to invasive pest threats.
  •         Apply knowledge gained by the above research and improvement programs to enable wider commercial and ecological distribution of resistant trees.
  •         Apply the above process to address threats to other native tree species.
  •         Collaborate with the larger scientific community and allied agencies and organizations in the above efforts.