A team of University of Maine researchers has been awarded $1.17 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and test land management practices to protect Maine forest workers from exposure to tick-borne diseases.

Maine has experienced a fivefold increase in Lyme disease cases over the past decade, likely due to climate change and land use change, according to the researchers. The increase in cases, combined with the high percentage of nonindustrial private land ownership in southern Maine, they say, provides an urgent need and a unique socio-ecological context to investigate the effects of forest management on infectious disease transmission. Forest workers are at particularly high risk of contracting tick-borne illnesses due to their frequent exposure to ticks. Read more.