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The Virginia Department of Forestry says the state is rapidly losing its tree canopy. The state loses as much as 16,000 acres of forest every year, which works out to about 44 acres of forest a day, according to the 2011 State of the Forests Report.
Charlie Becker with the Forestry Department says a lot of that has to do with development: "As the population of Virginia grows we have more people we need to have homes for, more services, and we tend to sprawl out more and people like to have things out in rural areas and in forest land."
But he says it isn’t just shopping centers, subdivisions, and roads that are taking away trees. Invasive insects, including the emerald ash borer and gypsy moth, are also threatening Virginia’s forests. They can bring canker disease to walnut trees and are often transportated around in firewood. So he’s calling on residents to watch out for the health of their trees.
"If you see trees that look like they’re dying. If you have pine trees where the tops are going brown. If you see places where bark is falling offtrees. If you see where the leaves are being eaten up by insects or there are the holes are in trunks contact a professional," he says.
Becker urges landowners to develop forest management plans to protect their tree canopies.
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