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In-situ genetic conservation of white ash (Fraxinus americana) at the Allegheny national forest

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Flower, Charles E.; Aubihl, Elijah; Fant, Jeremie; Forry, Stephen; Hille, Andrea; Knight, Kathleen S.; Oldland, William K.; Royo, Alejandro A.; Turcotte, Richard M.

Year Published

2017

Publication

In: Sniezko, Richard A.; Man, Gary; Hipkins, Valerie; Woeste, Keith; Gwaze, David; Kliejunas, John T.; McTeague, Brianna A., tech. cords. 2017. Gene conservation of tree species?banking on the future. Proceedings of a workshop. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-963. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 165-169.

Abstract

The emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis) is a non-native forest pest that has been sweeping across North America causing widespread mortality of trees in the genus Fraxinus, which includes the economically valuable white ash (F. americana). The rapid spread and lethality of EAB, paired with low levels of natural resistance in ash trees, has left forest managers with few management options to slow EAB or to conserve ash trees. Here we present the initial findings of a collaborative project to pursue regional genetic conservation of white ash trees across the Allegheny National Forest. The network of white ash conservation plots consists of 29, 3.24 ha (8 ac) plots distributed across the forest, each containing a subset of 20 ash trees that received insecticidal treatment with emamectin benzoate trunk injections. This design will allow us to test for associational protection of non-insecticide treated trees with treatment levels varying from 10 to 91 percent (i.e., proportion of protected ash trees in a stand). In conjunction with the ash conservation project, we monitored ash tree canopy health from 2010 (prior to the arrival of EAB) to 2015 across 193 permanent plots in the Allegheny National Forest. Following the arrival of EAB to the Allegheny National Forest in 2013, we conducted a follow up survey of ash canopy health in 2015 and discovered further canopy decline in both upper and lower slope positions, likely caused by EAB. Furthermore, canopy traps revealed that EAB, which was first discovered in the southern region of the forest in 2013, had now spread to the northern region.

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Citation

Flower, Charles E.; Aubihl, Elijah; Fant, Jeremie; Forry, Stephen; Hille, Andrea; Knight, Kathleen S.; Oldland, William K.; Royo, Alejandro A.; Turcotte, Richard M. 2017. In-situ genetic conservation of white ash (Fraxinus americana) at the Allegheny national forest. In: Sniezko, Richard A.; Man, Gary; Hipkins, Valerie; Woeste, Keith; Gwaze, David; Kliejunas, John T.; McTeague, Brianna A., tech. cords. 2017. Gene conservation of tree species—banking on the future. Proceedings of a workshop. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-963. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 165-169.

Last updated on: October 6, 2017