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Emerald Ash Borer Biocontrol Benefits the Health of Young Ash Trees

Photo of An introduced natural enemy of EAB emerging from the trunk of a young ash tree regenerating at Michigan study site. Leah Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.An introduced natural enemy of EAB emerging from the trunk of a young ash tree regenerating at Michigan study site. Leah Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Forest Service research results from a multi-year study of ash trees in Michigan forests found that an introduced natural enemy of the emerald ash borer (EAB) contributed to the health and growth of young ash trees and could potentially lead to the repopulating forests decimated by EAB.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Bauer, Leah 
Research Location : Ingham, Gratiot, Shiawassee Cos.
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1011

Summary

Emerald ash borer (EAB), a beetle from Asia that feeds on ash trees, was discovered in North America over a decade ago. Land managers estimate EAB has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in 27 states. To manage EAB, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is using biocontrol, a sustainable management approach that involves introducing specialized insect natural enemies from a pest’s native range. The Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, Agricultural Research Service, and university researchers are studying the impacts of EAB and biocontrol on ash survival, growth, and regeneration at long-term study sites in Michigan. Although most mature ash trees soon died from extensive EAB damage at these sites, the researchers confirmed establishment, spread, and suppression of EAB populations by the introduced natural enemies. More recently, they found that young ash trees are regenerating rapidly from seedlings, stump sprouts, and saplings in Michigan forests recovering from EAB outbreak. They also found one of the introduced natural enemies prefers attacking EAB in these young ash trees, thereby reducing EAB damage. Less EAB damage allows young ash trees to remain healthier and better able to counteract subsequent EAB damage through plant resistance. These findings indicate that biocontrol will improve ash tree regeneration in North American forests.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service
  • University of Massachusetts
  • Wayne State University

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