Publication Details

A Forest Death in Three Acts: From Woodpeckers to Water, the Emerald Ash Borer's Effects are Widespread

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Year Published

2019

Publication

The Wildlife Professional. 3: 44-49.

Abstract

Dead treetops, their bare branches curving upward, stood dark against a blue sky. Only a few years before, these had been towering, vibrant ash trees, playing a vital role in riparian forest ecosystems of northwest Ohio. Then, the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), a shiny green beetle whose voracious maggot-like larva feeds just beneath the bark of the trees, swept through the forests leaving death and destruction in its wake. The emerald ash borer, or EAB, is native to eastern Asia. There, it has little impact on Asian ash species, which are able to mount defenses against the larvae. But in the late 1990s, it was accidentally introduced to North America, arriving near Detroit. Michigan, on wooden shipping material. When EAB reached the nearby forests, it encountered North American ash species that had no co-evolutionary history with the pest and almost no defense. The insect was inadvertently spread by people, moving on firewood, logs and even vehicles. Now, it occurs in 35 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. Our job was to monitor the effects of this invasive pest. including the decline and death of the ash trees, and the cascading effects of the sudden loss of these tree species on their forest ecosystems.

Citation

Knight, Kathleen S.; Flower, Charles E.; Nelson, Mark D​. 2019. A Forest Death in Three Acts: From Woodpeckers to Water, the Emerald Ash Borer's Effects are Widespread. The Wildlife Professional. 3: 44-49.

Last updated on: May 7, 2019