President Barron to discuss invasive species on WPSU's 'Digging Deeper' Feb. 17

Episode to air at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on WPSU-TV

The invasive spotted lanternfly was first detected in Pennsylvania in Bucks County. Credit: E. SwackhamerAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State President Eric J. Barron will discuss some of the new invasive species that have been introduced to Pennsylvania, what impact they might have, and what residents need to know during the next episode of WPSU’s “Digging Deeper” on Sunday, Feb. 17.

The show will air at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on WPSU-TV.

For the episode, Barron will welcome Eric Burkhart, instructor and plant science program director at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and faculty member in the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, and Arthur Gover, research support associate in the Department of Plant Science.

The show will air at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Credit: WPSU Penn State

Burkhart says invasive species typically fall into four categories — insects, diseases, plants and animals — and can create rapid changes in ecosystems. The decline of the American chestnut, ash and eastern hemlock trees, which is Pennsylvania’s state tree, have all been recent victims to invasive species, according to Burkhart.

“Invasive insects and diseases often create catastrophic alteration in forest composition and food webs by removing or harming native tree species,” he said. “Invasive plants have more gradual impacts than diseases or insects, but they nevertheless can reduce biodiversity and alter ecosystem food webs over time, which, in turn, impacts native wildlife and plant communities.”  

Burkhart said the increase of invasive species is partly through exotic ornamental plants used for landscaping. He said people can help reduce the spread of invasive species by not planting known invasive landscaping plants in their yards and instead promoting native Pennsylvania wildlife habitat, plant conservation and forest health by utilizing native plants in their landscapes.

Visit the WPSU website for more information and to watch archived episodes.

Last Updated February 18, 2019