People You Should Know: Tivon Feeley
Forest Health Specialist for the DNR
1. You currently work for the DNR as the Forest Health Specialist. How long have you been there? What did you do before that?
I started with the IDNR in 2007. Prior to 2007, I worked as Extension Forester at ISU. At ISU Extension, I primarily focused urban forestry and forest health. Lastly, from 1996-2000 I worked as a Diagnosticians in the ISU Plant Disease Clinic.
2. What are some of your favorite aspects about this job?
I love the “detective” work and solving the mystery, when possible, of what is causing the tree to decline. Moreover, I love working with the public and the education aspect of the job.
3. Since you have been in this position have you noticed any trends in forest health?
During my time at the DNR I have watched my job duties changes from monitoring for native pests, to monitoring for non-native pests. We have gone from rarely ever treating for gypsy moth, to have to treat every few years. The forest health climate in Iowa is changing. However, we still need to deal with the native pests and the funding to work with the native pests has dried up, creating a challenge.
4. To what do you attribute those trends?
Global movement of wood products. The trend is not likely to change, which is why we need to keep pressing the issue to diversify our forest. That includes woodlands and communities.
5. Besides EAB, what do you think is the next biggest threat to our forests? Where can we find more info on that?
Asian longhorned beetle. The urban inventories are showing that maples make up a tremendous amount of our community trees. Although we know we can eradicate Asian longhorned beetle with time, it would cause an extreme and quick change to our communities. I do not think community’s budget can handle this pest.
6. We ask everybody this question, of all the resource material you have available to you, which do you rely on the most?
The Emerging Threat Document which details five of the biggest concerns IDNR has for our forests.
The Forest Health and Highlights which detail the trends of the pests being monitoring over the years.
7. Last, what tree or trees would you like to see being planted more often?
White oak Quercus alba It can get oak wilt and live a long life with it. It is overlooked because of its slow growth and the acorn production. However, I get the most questions about “what tree is this with the beautiful reddish fall color”?