TRENTON - State agriculture officials say a recently conducted aerial survey of New Jersey showed a major increase in tree damage from gypsy moth caterpillars.
The survey made public Wednesday showed an estimated 290,696 acres of trees in 175 municipalities in 20 counties were defoliated, compared to 1,330 acres in 24 towns in 11 counties in 2014.
Most of the tree damage was in the state's seven northernmost counties.
READ MORE: Environment Stories
The highest concentrations were in Sussex, with 108,882 acres; Passaic, with 61,386 acres, and Morris, with 60,699. The hardest hit towns were West Milford in Sussex County, with 40,632 acres of trees defoliated, and Jefferson Township in Morris County, with 22,562 acres.
All counties except for Hudson experienced some amount of tree damage from gypsy moths this year.
The aerial survey was conducted from June 17-29.