Eastern hemlock [Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière] is a valuable component of Allegheny Plateau forests in northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York. Since the 1950s, hemlock forests throughout the Central Appalachians have been under threat from a nonnative forest insect pest, the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand). In 2012, to address this threat at the most meaningful scale, the United States Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy organized a diverse partnership to develop a strategy for landscape-level conservation of hemlock on the High Allegheny Unglaciated Plateau. The main goal of the partnership was to locate hemlock across the landscape regardless of land ownership and prioritize the hemlock for monitoring and protection from the adelgid. The priority Hemlock Conservation Areas that were identified by this partnership provide a guide for focusing limited financial and personnel resources, with the goal of protecting at least a portion of these areas from the impacts of the adelgid until more long-term management techniques are identified. To protect the important hemlock forests identified in this prioritization, a partnership of private and public land managers are forming a Cooperative Pest Management Area to continue this important collaboration, allocate scarce resources across the area, and allow private partners access to public funding for protection of priority hemlock on their lands.
Environmental Practice 18: 94–105 (2016)