ORONO —The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine will host a talk on how forest management practices may affect ticks and tick-borne disease on Monday, March 28 from 3–4 p.m.

Maine has seen a five-fold increase in the incidence of Lyme disease, which is transmitted by the black-legged tick, over the past decade. This increase is attributed to the effects of climate change and increasing interactions between humans and wildlife, including in forested landscapes. Active forest management may affect individual risk of exposure to ticks as well as the spread of tick-borne diseases. 

The Maine Forest Tick Survey is a community science project launched in 2018 to help identify forest management practices that inhibit tick-borne disease transmission and also serve a range of public health, economic and ecological interests. Allison Gardner, assistant professor in the School of Biology and Ecology at UMaine, will discuss results from the project and how they could inform practical recommendations to protect rural community health while sustaining the economic and other benefits that forests provide.

Gardner’s research focuses on the ecology of infectious diseases in humans and wildlife that are transmitted by vectors such as ticks and mosquitoes. Her goal is to translate her findings into the development of effective and sustainable management strategies. Gardner is a faculty affiliate of the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, the Maine Center for the Genetics in the Environment, and the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering at UMaine. 

All talks in the Mitchell Center’s Sustainability Talks series are free and will be offered both remotely via Zoom and in person at 107 Norman Smith Hall on the UMaine campus in Orono. Registration is required to attend remotely via Zoom; to register and receive connection information, see the event webpage at https://umaine.edu/mitchellcenter/event/talk-the-maine-forest-tick-survey-cross-disciplinary-and-community-engaged-science-for-public-health/.

Please note that face coverings are required for all persons – students, staff, faculty, visitors and others – when indoors at a University of Maine System facility. For the latest health and safety guidance, please see umaine.edu/return.

Updates for this event will be posted to the event webpage. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth at 207-581-3196 or hallsworth@maine.edu.