- Associated Press - Thursday, January 29, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A new study has found hemlock trees in the Catskill region declining in health amid an invasive pest infestation.

U.S. Forest Service and University of Vermont researchers found the percentage of healthy hemlocks in the region dropping from 59 percent in 2001 to 16 percent in 2012.

Forest Service Forest Entomologist Ryan Hanavan said Thursday the decline in the 274-square-mile area is due almost exclusively to the hemlock woolly adelgid. The pervasive invasive insect originally from Japan can cause trees to lose needles and branches and eventually die.

The Forest Service is working with other agencies to control the infestation.

The study was published this week in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

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