Impacts of the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) induced ash (Fraxinus spp.) mortality on forest carbon cycling and successional dynamics in the eastern United States
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Biological Invasions. 15(4): 931-944.
Invasive species are widely recognized as altering species and community dynamics, but their impacts on biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem processes are less understood. The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) is a phloem feeding beetle that was inadvertently introduced to the US in the 1990s and relies solely on ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) to complete its life cycle. Ash trees have a wide geographic distribution and are an important component of many different forest types in the US. The larval feeding behavior of the emerald ash borer (EAB) effectively girdles the tree's phloem tissue resulting in tree mortality in as little as 2 years and stand mortality in as little as 5 years. Using the forest inventory and analysis database, we found that forest lands in the lower 48 states hold approximately 8.7 billion ash trees and saplings, which represent ~2.5 % of the aboveground forest carbon mass. Furthermore, we measured tree growth in 7 EAB impacted and 5 non-EAB impacted temperate forests in the Midwestern United States to quantify the impacts of EAB induced tree mortality on tree growth. We hypothesized that the initial C lost would be partly compensated for by the enhanced non-ash tree growth in EAB-impacted regions relative to non-EAB impacted regions. The EAB disturbance enhanced growth of non-ash trees in the EAB impacted region relative to the non-EAB impacted region.
KeywordsFraxinus; disturbance; emerald ash borer; forest; relative growth rate; net primary production
Flower, Charles E.; Knight, Kathleen S.; Gonzalez-Meler, Miquel. 2013. Impacts of the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) induced ash (Fraxinus spp.) mortality on forest carbon cycling and successional dynamics in the eastern United States. Biological Invasions. 15(4): 931-944. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-012-0341-7.