Gypsy moth caterpillars are having a devastating effect on southern New England forests.
The Providence Journal reports more than one million acres of forest in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have been damaged by an infestation of the insects since 2015.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management estimates as much as a quarter of the state’s hardwoods trees have been killed by the caterpillars, as well as other recent environmental factors, including droughts and other insects.
The newspaper reports the devastation is so bad NASA has posted satellite images of it from space.
Gypsy moth caterpillars were brought from Europe in the 1800s for a failed bid to produce silk in Massachusetts. Most years, they’re naturally kept in check, but drought and other conditions have allowed them to flourish.