Changing Landscape Changing Ecosystem

Various environmental plagues have existed for humanity to contend with throughout the recorded history of humanity. Numerous conditions and diseases result in continuous expense on research into their onset, treatment protocols and possible resolutions. In the past century, forestry and science experts were successful in dealing with two blights: Dutch elm disease and another that effected hardwoods such as the chestnut tree in particular.

Over the past 20 years attention has focused on a significant non-native insect to the US that is alleged to have come from Asia. The emerald ash borer is a beetle that was discovered in both Toledo, Ohio; and it was also discovered in Detroit, Michigan in the early 2000s. The emerald ash borer, (EAB) is identified as one of 450 species of non-native insects by entomology residing in the wild. Many of these species pose little threat to humanity or nature. However, findings seem to indicate that the beetle has been identified to cause damage to ash trees in 31 US states and two provinces, (Ontario and Quebec) in Canada. The area include woodland, swamp as well as rural and more densely populated areas where ash trees are found.

A Look at the Process

The emerald ash borer is observed to rely on vision and its sense of smell to find a host tree and potential mates. Furthermore, it seems to prefer choosing its host among green ash and black ash trees. However, it will also choose the blue ash and white ash tree as well but less so. Over the next several weeks the beetles will feed on the outer leaves, mate and lay eggs. Once hatched, the larvae chew their way to the inner bark, and feed on the inner bark, continuing reproduction, gradually shortening the supply of nutrients and water needed by the tree to sustain life. It is estimated that an EAB colony can kill an ash tree within two years.

Colorado Practices Prevention to Prompt Resolution

Boulder, Colorado is the first city in that state to report identification of the EAB in 2013. Since then, five other Colorado communities have followed suit. Denver officials and residents have taken a more ambitious approach by emerald ash borer prevention denver co—since 2016. An education program has been launched, exhorting, ‘be a smart ash’ providing information to home owners and interested persons on how they can be involved in protecting the ash tree. Moreover, the Denver Parks and Recreation Department are busily planting hundreds of ash trees across the area while treating at-risk trees with approved insecticides. To date success is reported by Denver officials.

Entomologists who study the EAB and its habitat, forecast the eventual reality to be a noted change in the forestry ecosystem with loss of perhaps four billion out of eight billion ash trees. Forest floor surface previously shaded will be continuously exposed to sunlight and eventually result in growth of wild shrubbery. Thus, the battle seems continuous for some time to come.