Towards Tree Species Preservation: Protecting Ash Amidst the Emerald Ash Borer Invasion in the Northeast
Oxford University Press (OUP)
The introduced emerald ash borer (EAB) represents the costliest invasive forest insect in US history, causing significant mortality of ash species across much of eastern North America as well as in Colorado and Oregon. Few surviving overstory ash trees exist in areas first invaded by EAB, such as the Lake States region; however, forests with healthy, mature ash remain in recently invaded regions, such as the northeastern United States. Given the importance of ash to cultural lifeways of Indigenous peoples and the ecology and economies of working forest lands, there is growing interest in applying protection measures to maintain ash in forested settings. We further develop our call for species preservation by presenting Indigenous and Western science case studies of ongoing efforts to mitigate the impacts of EAB, illustrating specific applications of these strategies for meeting different preservation goals in lowland and northern hardwood forests in northeastern North America. Study Implications: The introduced emerald ash borer (EAB) threatens to functionally eliminate ash species from large portions of the United States. Although the impacts of EAB are now widespread in many areas, portions of the United States, such as the Northeast, still contain forests with healthy, mature ash. This presents a unique opportunity to apply the integrated pest management strategies and knowledge gained from other invaded regions to preserve the cultural and ecological values provided by ash in the forest. Multistakeholder partnerships built around preserving the cultural and ecological values of ash have provided a powerful approach for sustaining ash into the future.