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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

New Study Addresses the Emerald Ash Borer Invasion

Sunday, June 17, 2018
Credit- Tony D’Amato

The introduced emerald ash borer (EAB) is one of the more significant non-native insects threatening North American forests. It's invasion has spread to 32 states in the US and three Canadian provinces since its discovery in Michigan in 2002, and has killed nearly 100% of ash stems greater than 2.5 cm diameter in areas where it was first introduced. These changes represent not only a significant threat to organisms and processes in black ash ecosystems, but also a significant challenge to managers tasked with sustaining these ecosystems.  This study, led by NE CASC Principal Investigator Anthony D'Amato stems from a long-term collaboration with the Wisconsin DNR, and it includes three manager partners as coauthors.


D’Amato et al. (2018) reviews recent research and experience managing black ash ecosystems to provide general guidance for the adaptive management of these ecosystems in the face of EAB invasion. A central challenge to developing adaptive management approaches for addressing the threat of EAB has been the limited amount of information on the ecology and management of black ash forests relative to other forest ecosystems in the Great Lakes region. This study evaluates different silviculture methods and recommends best management approaches.

Take home points

  • Recent experience with adaptive planting approaches in conjunction with regeneration suggest there may be opportunities to increase non-ash components and maintain some forested wetlands.
  • Key knowledge gaps still exist ability to sustain these areas, including long-term suitability of potential replacement species.
  • Adaptive management efforts should include retention of mature, seed-bearing black ash to maintain its unique ecological functions prior to EAB arrival and provide opportunities for natural resistance and reestablishment after invasion. 


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D’Amato, A., Palik B., Slesak R., Edge G., Matula C., and Bronson D. 2108. Evaluating Adaptive Management Options for Black Ash Forests in the Face of Emerald Ash Borer Invasion, Forests, 9(6):348 10.3390/f9060348    


Written by Communications Intern Mike Crowley