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Litchfield Hills tree branches

How we’re protecting the forest from moth outbreaks this season

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Better Place Forests creates and maintains conservation memorial forests for people who choose cremation and don’t want their ashes to end up in a traditional cemetery.

Better Place Forests is a mission-driven company with a commitment to land conservation at our core. We operate 10 conservation memorial forests across the country, and we care for each forest and take steps to ensure they will thrive for generations. These actions include, but are not restricted to pest mitigation, prescriptive thinning, hazard tree removal, and invasive species management.

Many of you are familiar with L. Dispar moths (formerly known as Gypsy moths) and the profound impact they have on forested land throughout the region. As caterpillars hatch, they eat leaves — leading to the defoliation of entire forest stands. While many trees can survive one defoliation event, consecutive years of leaf loss can lead to extremely high levels of tree mortality.

In our Litchfield Hills forest, we are taking steps to prevent a severe defoliation event. This year, we plan on dispersing a naturally occurring bacteria across our property in late spring to target L. dispar larvae. The bacteria is safe, legal, and permitted through the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It has not been found to negatively affect the trees in our forest or create harmful conditions for humans. 

Frequently asked questions

Will the dispersal of bacteria harm my tree?

No, the bacteria is naturally occurring and does not harm the trees.  

Will this make the forest unsafe for people to visit?

No, this bacteria isn’t harmful to humans and will not affect the safety of the forest. Because the bacteria is naturally occurring, it’s common for humans to come in contact with it. 

How is the bacteria dispersed?

Better Place Forests has contracted with an aerial spraying company, JBI Helicopter Services. We anticipate that the spraying will take place over two days in a two-week period. During those days, if you are in the area, you will likely see and hear a helicopter over the tree line. 

If you have questions, our support team is available at [email protected] or by phone at (415) 851-7138. 

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