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Yale School of the Environment


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology

Resource Type

  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Midwest, USA - Northeast, Connecticut

An Inside Look at Beech Leaf Disease

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  • This article examines the spread of Beech Leaf Disease (BLD) in the United States and how this disease destroys the leaves of beech trees.
  • Students will learn that BLD is spreading quickly in specific parts of North America and this disease drastically reduces the photosynthetic rate of infected leaves.
  • Students can listen along with an embedded audio recording of the article.
Teaching Tips


  • This article highlights the importance of genetic diversity in populations to help species survive diseases, parasites, or environmental changes.
  • This article contains eye-catching pictures that illustrate BLD's impact on beech leaves.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should understand leaf structure and function.
  • Some students may benefit from having the terms nematode, photosynthetic, foliar, and others defined before reading the article.


  • This article can supplement a classroom activity where students analyze plant diseases throughout the United States.
  • Advanced students can use this article to connect to lessons about biodiversity, genetic diversity within species, or selection pressures on populations.
  • This article can support a lesson on various threats to present-day forest ecosystems, and how humans can conserve these valuable ecological spaces.
Scientist Notes
This article gives a brief overview of a leaf disease affecting beech trees, along with some of the current research examining the disease. Climate change, conservation, and related topics are not specifically mentioned but are related to the article. The article does provide a good example of focused scientific research. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • HS-LS1-5. Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
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