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A Call to Action for Ash Tree Conservation and Resistance Breeding

A dead ash tree pictured next to a tree that is still living
Kathleen Knight, USDA Forest Service

A Call to Action for Ash Tree Conservation and Resistance Breeding
March 11, 2020

Ash tree species in North America are under mortal threat from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), now in 35 states and five Canadian provinces. There are ongoing efforts to conserve this native tree species by producing genetically diverse, resistant seedlings suitable for restoring ash on the landscape. Identifying “lingering ash” is a critical component of amplifying these efforts, and this presentation will explain the narrow window of time in which urgent actions are needed to discover and preserve these individuals. Once identified, these trees can be replicated through grafting for further testing. Trees that are shown to have some level of resistance can be used as parents in conservation breeding programs. Drs. Kathleen Knight and Jennifer Koch of the USDA Forest Service will review EAB and ash tree mortality from an ecological perspective and report on the breeding program and latest results.  Jonathan Rosenthal of the Ecological Research Institute will share a model training program, based on their results, to find and collect materials critical for breeding resistance into the ash tree population.


View the webinar podcast »

A Call to Action for Ash Tree Conservation & Resistance Breeding
Kathleen Knight
Research Scientist
USDA Forest Service

Testing & Breeding for Resistance to EAB
Jennifer Koch
Research Scientist
USDA Forest Service

Monitoring and Measuring Ash
Jonathan Rosenthal
Ecological Research Institute


Resources Mentioned in the Webinar

Monitoring and Measuring Ash (MaMA)
Monitoring and Managing Ash (MaMA) is a program developed and directed by the Ecological Research Institute (ERI) that provides steps to be undertaken at each stage of emerald ash borer (EAB) invasion, and even before it, to achieve ash species conservation and EAB mitigation. In addition to providing scientifically-informed guidance for ash management, it includes three citizen-science projects, two specifically aimed at finding lingering ash. All these projects are on the Anecdata platform, and can be found by going to or downloading the Anecdata app and entering "MaMA" in the project search field. For more information on MaMA, and all of its tools to enable ash conservation and EAB mitigation, including regional Action Maps, visit 

US Forest Service Resources

Identification, Selection, and Testing of “Lingering Ash” in Emerald Ash Borer Long Term Monitoring Plots in Michigan and Ohio
Forest Service researchers and their Ohio State University collaborators are working quickly to preserve and study “lingering ash” through grafting.  Grafting allows both preservation and replication for study.   Bioassays are being utilized to determine if lingering ash are resistant to EAB and what mechanisms may be operating that allow them to survive.