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Trees in Trouble

It seemed to happen almost overnight. Thousands of trees started dying unexpectedly in SW Ohio. Cincinnati almost went broke cutting down trees and trying to keep the invasion from damaging property - or worse. The killer was a tiny insect known as the emerald ash borer, a new invasive insect from Asia that will wipe out every ash tree in America...unless we do something about it. First found near Detroit in 2002, emerald ash borers have now infested trees in 35 states, from New Hampshire to South Carolina and as far west as Colorado.

TREES IN TROUBLE: Saving America's Urban Forests tells the compelling story of how one community in SW Ohio confronted their tree crisis and fought the invasive pest by taking action and joining together. Through partnerships with scientists, city officials and everyday citizens, this community was able to fight the pest and protect their urban forests for future generations. The film also explores the rich history of urban forestry in the United States and the exciting new research linking human health and trees.

Designed for audiences of all ages, TREES IN TROUBLE inspires viewers to take action, and points towards first steps.

From the producer of the groundbreaking climate change film, RISING WATERS..

'Highly Recommended...Clearly shows the value of the urban forest...Trees in Trouble is highly recommended as a clear explanation of the emerald ash borer infestation, the economic impact on the forests in infested states, and the difficulty and expense of eliminating infected trees and developing borer-resistant strains of ash trees.' Cliff Glaviano, Educational Media Reviews Online

'What an arresting film! Beautifully made and engaging to watch. Trees are an important source of health for humans and nature and thus a vital part of our cities. This is a valuable resource for classroom and community showings across the country.' Mary Evelyn Tucker, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University

'Plants make earth livable, and trees do that better than other plants. In a beautifully rendered story of Cincinnati's urban forests, Trees in Trouble reminds us that humans have the power to destroy trees or save them: the choice is ours.' Dr. Douglas Tallamy, Professor and Chair, Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware

'Trees in Trouble clearly makes the case for the priceless value of city trees, the threats they face from exotic insects accidentally brought in to our cities, and the need for municipalities to take action. City officials, local tree committees, and interested citizens would all benefit from viewing this film.' Amy Grotta, Associate Professor of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University

'Exotic species - those we have carelessly moved to places where they are not native - are a massive threat to global biodiversity. As this important film makes clear, nowhere is this more obvious than in our own cities and towns where insect pests are killing the trees that give us so much pleasure. So much is at stake if we are to keep our streets and gardens green.' Stuart Pimm, Professor of Conservation Ecology, Duke University, President of SavingSpecies

'Scholars, public health experts, and city residents are developing an increased awareness of the critical benefits that urban forests provide for people and nature. But these ecosystems and their benefits are under threat from invasive pests. Trees in Trouble brings much needed attention to this problem, highlighting, in stark terms, key policy and management challenges as well as the consequences for city residents and forests.' Dr. Patrick Hurley, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Ursinus College, Author, Planning Paradise: Politics and Visioning of Land Use in Oregon

'Trees in Trouble is an urgent call to action to protect our treasured urban street and park trees from extinction due to invasive insects and other threats - a must for teachers, parks managers, municipal officials, and people who love trees.' Dr. Rutherford H. Platt Jr., Professor Emeritus of Geography, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Author, The Ecological City: Preserving and Restoring Urban Biodiversity

'Informative and moving. Viewers will learn how at risk our forests are, and they may be compelled to take action to preserve them.' Constance Dickerson, School Library Journal

'Trees create sense of place, and touch lives in special ways. The urban forests of American cities are threatened by pests that are stowaways with the goods that arrive from all the world. This film informs about invasive species management, preventive policies, and the community sense of loss if protection is overlooked.' Dr. Kathleen Wolf, Research Social Scientist, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington

'A vital wake-up call about the impacts of global trade on urban ecology. Looking closely at the negative effects caused by the Emerald Elm Borer on urban trees in Cincinnati, a city that boast an almost 40% canopy in the 21st century, Trees in Trouble deftly reveals the challenges we face in a global world.' Dr. Kent 'Kip' Curtis, Assistant Professor of Environmental History, The Ohio State University

'Very well done and it hits the two most important issues: The Emerald Ash Borer, which is the greatest loss to our forests since chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease and hemlock woolly adelgid. The second issue is global trade. Introduction of tree killing insects and diseases is accelerating so we can expect continuing losses to our forest ecosystems, both urban and rural.' Dr. Robert Miller, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, Co-author, Urban Forestry: Planning and Managing Urban Greenspaces

'Urban forests serve as the lungs in our communities. They clean the air, and help to reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect, among other benefits. This film would be of interest to a wide range of audiences including community activists, students, and those interested in urban planning, environmental studies, public health, and conservation biology.' Dr. Hilary Nixon, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, San Jose State University

'Interesting...The DVD and its resources will assist teachers, schools, and other organizations in educating and promoting responsible, sustainable community forest action in cities and towns far beyond Cincinnati.' Vincent N. Lunetta, Science Books and Films

'This informative program underscores the widespread threat of the ash borer throughout the U.S.' Candace Smith, Booklist


Main credits

Torrice, Andrea (film producer)
Torrice, Andrea (film director)

Other credits

Editor, Matt Dibble; original music composed and produced by Brian Lovely; cinematography, Melissa Godoy, Dave Morrison.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Climate Change/Global Warming
Forests and Rainforests
Land Use
Natural Resources
Public Administration
Urban Studies
Urban and Regional Planning


urban forests, tree crisis, invasive insects, invasives, pests, emerald ash borer, EAB crisis, trees dying, SW Ohio, Cincinnati, Cincinnati City Council, infested trees, Detroit, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Colorado, partnerships, scientists, city officials, citizens, pesticides, urban forestry, Asian longhorn beetle, link between trees and human health, history of urban forestry, reforestation, solutions, tree planting, Scott Beuerlein, Brad Bonham, Joe Chamberlin, Legacy Tree Project, Geoffrey H. Donovan, David Gamstetter, Jennifer Gulick, Dan Herms, David Stradling, Thane Maynard, Wendell Young; "Trees in Trouble"; Bullfrog Films