(NECN: Kristen Doucet Worcester, Mass.) - Large-scale tree-cutting and chemicals have been used in the battle against the Asian Longhorned Beetle.
But, Clark University is hoping research will be another weapon in the fight.
In his four years at Clark University, A.J.Shatz developed an interest in the Asian Longhorned beetle and its impact on Worcester County.
Now the grad student is part of a research team taking an in depth look at the invasive insect.
“For the next three years we hope to monitor and track where damage to our forest cover in Worcester has developed over the past few years and its impact on the community,” says Shatz.
A $329,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will go to students working with geography associate professors Deborah Martin and John Rogan.
Martin says the research will target two specific areas over the next three years.
“The first is what we're calling beetle impact assessment and that's doing a lot of mapping and modeling and seeing where it has impacted and where it might go and then looking at what we call place making assessment, which is the social impact,” says Martin.
Interviews will be conducted with residents who were impacted by the beetle scourge.
Research will also focus on how the infestation started with the goal of helping other communities deal with the beetle in the future.
“If this type of thing happens again in other places in the future, there will be a template for how others could react to the situation,” says Rogan.
“I've been working with John for the past two years on personal Asian Longhorned beetle research but this is really the first time that is being performed in such a big project like this,” says Shatz. “It's very exciting.”