The Southern Pine Beetle, an invasive species of insect that causes destructive pine tree loss, has colonized and infested trees within Suffolk County’s forests and ecologically protected lands. Due to rising temperatures and milder winters attributed to climate change, the native range of these beetles has expanded northward and continues to threaten the unique ecosystem of the East End. Trees downed as a result of the infestation not only pose a significant threat to the health of the forest, but also to public safety due to the increased frequency and severity of wildfires. Efforts to control the infestation by identifying spread and eliminating infested pine trees have been spearheaded by local governments, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. issued the following update on the current progress to mitigate the spread of the Southern Pine Beetles found in Napeague State Park:
Assemblyman Thiele stated, “In October, the DEC, in partnership with State Parks and the Town of East Hampton, identified the presence of pine beetles north of Route 27 within the Napeague State Park. To date, this partnership has successfully marked and removed over 1,000 trees to slow the spread of further infestation. I strongly commend this efficient and critical effort to protect our beloved parklands for generations to come and look forward to supporting future projects.”