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Individual Highlight

Municipal Cooperation in Managing Emerald Ash Borer Increases Urban Forest Benefits

Photo of Contractors remove trees infested by emerald ash borer, Shields, MI, 2004. David Cappaert, Michigan State UniversityContractors remove trees infested by emerald ash borer, Shields, MI, 2004. David Cappaert, Michigan State UniversitySnapshot : The best approach to managing an emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation is to fight it like a human health epidemic. Just as epidemiologists cannot fight a flu epidemic city by city, EAB cannot be efficiently fought city by city. Better results are achieved through regional cooperation and implementation of treatment strategies.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Haight, Robert G. 
Research Location : Michigan; Minnesota; Wisconsin
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 639


A new analysis of emerald ash borer (EAB) spread in urban forests shows that a regional management and funding strategy would control the infestation more effectively than city-by-city responses or no response. A Forest Service scientist and partners analyzed EAB management plans and budgets for Minneapolis, St. Paul, and 15 Minnesota cities with recent EAB infestations. They projected tree mortality and the costs of tree removals, replacement trees, and pesticide treatments and calculated how trees increase property values. The first scenario assumed none of the cities committed funds and the EAB population spread unmitigated. The second scenario assumed the 17 cities managed the infestation independently with their own city budgets. The third scenario assumed the 17 cities pooled resources to manage the infestation on a regional scale. In the first scenario, removal and replacement costs far exceeded the amount the remaining trees improved property values. The second scenario returned a similar result. When the cities pooled resources in the third scenario, increased property value benefits of the surviving trees far exceeded the costs of treatments, removals, and replacement trees. Comparing the second and third strategies show definitively that regional cooperation and implementation of EAB management greatly improves urban forest benefits.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Deborah McCullough, Michigan State University, East Lansing.
  • Kent Kovacs, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
  • Rodrigo Mercader, Washburn University, Topeka, KS