Forest health management in South Dakota encompasses a wide array of growing conditions, management practices, and host species.
The division foresters provide more than 1,200 technical assists to private landowners, conservation districts, state parks, and cooperative extension personnel each year. Many of these assists involve injury to individual trees, but many also involve problems with windbreak and shelterbelt trees.
Timely information on current pest problems and results of diagnoses are communicated to extension, conservation districts, and the Department of Game, Fish and Parks personnel, as well as the general public, via weekly tree pest alerts.
The mountain pine beetle (MPB) is the most destructive native forest pest in South Dakota. The most recent MPB epidemic lasted 20 years, affected 450,000 acres of Black Hills federal, state, and private forest land, and killed millions of trees. That epidemic ended in 2016. MPB epidemics re-occur at irregular intervals and the need for proactive management is crucial to limiting future outbreaks. More information about managing for this insect can be gound on our mountain pine beetle webpage.
Emerald ash borer (EAB), an introduced insect from Asia that has killed millions of ash trees across the eastern US and Canada, was discovered in South Dakota in May of 2018. South Dakota is heavily dependent on ash trees for urban and shelterbelt trees and the economic impact of this invasive insect will be enormous on communities and landowners statewide. Visit the emeraldashborerinsouthdakota.sd.gov website to learn more about slowing the spread of EAB, its biology, and regularly updated news about this insect in our state.