Thinning and harvesting operations temporarily stress forest stands because the remaining trees have to adjust to changes, such as increased light levels and drying winds. Logging should be timed to avoid compounding the severe stress caused by major insect outbreaks.
Once gypsy moths are established in a given area, their outbreaks follow a pattern: there will be from two to four years with high levels of the pest, followed by six to ten years in which gypsy moths will be hard to find. This pest is now at a low point and that's good news for its favorite meal, the red oak.
Vermont's gypsy moths are now just a few years past a peak and work in oak stands can be safely carried out. In two or three years, it will probably be recommended that loggers stay out of red oak stands.