Forest Ghosts (Daniel Burleson)

11th Annual Winner – Environment.
This image was taken along the Bynum Bluff trail in the Linville Gorge. I wanted to show just how destructive a non-native insect can be to an entire tree species. The Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, native to Asia where the hemlocks are immune to it, feeds on the sap of hemlock trees. The adelgid was accidentally introduced to the US in 1924, the first spotting of it in the southeast was in 1951. Since then it has infested nearly all Appalachian hemlock stands south of Virginia in just a decade.

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