Reducing Negative Cultural Impacts of Emerald Ash Borer: Saving Black Ash Wood for Native American Basketmakers
Black ash has great cultural and economic importance in the northeastern and midwestern United States, especially for Native Americans. Widespread destruction and removal of black ash following the discovery of an emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation site is a painful prospect for tribes and basket-makers. Historically, black ash has sometimes been submerged for later use in basketmaking. In a recently completed study, a Forest Service entomologist working with a Forest Service geographer demonstrated that sinking black ash logs in running water for two to three months in the spring kills emerald ash borer larvae and preserves the wood qualities necessary for basketmaking. The scientists worked with a family of basketmakers from the Gun Lake Tribe throughout the research. Additional studies will evaluate submersion during winter months and the impacts of longer term under-water storage on basket-splint quality and color.
Forest Service Partners