Potential Impacts of Emerald Ash Borer Biocontrol on Ash Health and Recovery in Southern Michigan
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Emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle that kills native North American ash species, threatening their persistence. A classical biological control program for EAB was initiated in 2007 with the release of three specialized EAB parasitoids. Monitoring changes in the health and regeneration of ash where EAB biocontrol agents have been released is critical for assessing the success of EAB biocontrol and predicting future changes to the ash component of North American forests. We sampled release and control plots across southern Michigan over a three-year period to measure ash health and recruitment to begin assessing the long-term impact of EAB biological control on ash populations. We noted a reduced mortality of larger trees between 2012 and 2015 in release plots compared to control plots and increases in ash diameter, but our results were otherwise inconsistent. Ash regeneration was generally higher in release plots compared to control plots but highly variable among sites, suggesting some protection of ash saplings from EAB by parasitoids. We conclude that EAB biocontrol is likely to have a positive effect on ash populations, but that the study duration was not long enough to definitively deduce the long-term success of the biocontrol program in this region.
KeywordsAgrilus planipennis; disturbance; forest recovery; Fraxinus spp.; invasive species; Tetrastichus planipennisi; Oobius agrili; Spathius galinae; Michigan; tree regeneration
Kashian, Daniel; Bauer, Leah; Spei, Benjamin; Duan, Jian; Gould, Juli. 2018. Potential Impacts of Emerald Ash Borer Biocontrol on Ash Health and Recovery in Southern Michigan. Forests. 9(6): 296-. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060296.