Xylology is the study of wood. Here is how the word is broken down: “logy” is means the study of and Xylo, which is derived from the Greek word xylon, which means wood. Xylologists focus specifically on the wood, while dendrologists study trees and other woody plants. Dendrologists study, identifies, and names woody plants. They’ll be kept in business for some time because there are actually more than 100,000 different species of trees.
That’s quite a variety.
Unfortunately, in many communities, the variety of tree species is much more limited. Oftentimes, this limited variety of tree species is by choice. Large numbers of the same type of trees, known as a “monoculture,” are planted in many communities. The ongoing crisis caused by the emerald ash borer, an invasive species, really dramatizes the danger of planting a monoculture, instead of a great variety of tree species. In New York State, the emerald ash borer is in the process of producing disaster, putting the state’s 900 million ash trees at risk.
Here, in Grand Island, anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of the trees are ash trees. According to entomologist Mark Whitmore of Cornell University, all of Grand Island’s ash trees are infested.
Unfortunately, other tree species are at risk to infestation by invasive insect species, including:
- Asian longhorned beetle, which poses a threat to maple trees.
- Hemlock wooly adelgid, which poses a threat to hemlock trees. There are at least 274 cultivars of the hemlock trees known to exist.