More leaf-chomping on the way for this spring in New England

Hillsides in a gypsy-moth infestation.

Hillsides in a gypsy-moth infestation.

Adapted from an item in Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary'' in

Scientists say that the gypsy moths will be back in force this spring to continue the devastation of the southern New England woods we saw last year. The ecological changes wrought by New England’s long drought are blamed.  The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation reported:

“Recent drought conditions have limited the effectiveness of a soil-borne fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, which has helped keep gypsy moth populations in check since the last large outbreak during the 1980s.”

 I remember driving through vast swathes of virtually leafless trees early last summer around Worcester. In a way, the openness, combined with the ground-level greenery, was exhilarating -- until you considered it a bit more. I wonder how many trees would die if this infestation occurs more frequently, with, say, global warming.

Let's hope that conservation folks don't obey a public outcry to aerial-spray the hell out of these creatures, and in so doing kill many other creatures.