WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) – The city of Worcester and federal officials have agreed to cut down only trees infested by a tree-destroying Asian beetle. That means potential host trees will be spared, greatly reducing the tree toll.

At least 700 trees in Worcester infested by the Asian longhorned beetle will be cut down. But the numbers would be far higher with a clear-cutting approach.

For instance, a New Jersey program that cut down all vulnerable trees, as well as infested trees, saw 21,000 trees destroyed.

Worcester city manager Michael V. O’Brien called the agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture a good balance between eradication and preservation.

The USDA says infested trees will be removed starting in November.

Meanwhile, the beetles have been found in nearby Holden and West Boylston, but officials say that doesn’t mean infestations have occurred there.

Information from: Telegram & Gazette, http://www.telegram.com

AP-ES-09-20-08 1252EDT

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