The Emerald Ash Borer- A Pain in the Ash

by steinr on November 10, 2017 - 11:48pm

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle species that destroys ash trees, and there is a wave of these pests currently making its way across Canada. The Global News articles I read talks about how the beetle is spreading rapidly across the country, and how municipalities are preparing for the impacts. There is a larger focus on education about the Ash Borer instead of making attempts to replenish tree numbers. For example, the city of Fredericton is about 11% ash trees, and rather than plant new trees and have them be destroyed again by the beetle, they are aiming to educate homeowners and prevent infected wood from crossing borders.  A main advocate for this issue is Don Murray, Manager of Parks and Trees for the city of Fredericton. He states that the impact of such a pest can cost a municipality anywhere from $4 billion to $40 billion. The problem posed by the infestation is something that requires input from both city officials and citizens- ideally in a co-management type situation.

While educating citizens about the problems (e.g. falling home values, tree damage or fatality, etc.) associated with the Ash Borer is an important aspect of dealing with the invasive species, in my opinion there is more that needs to be done. Currently, there are some pest control solutions being implemented in order to keep the worst at bay, but I feel that introducing “very tiny wasps that kill Emerald Ash Borer eggs and larvae” does not seem like enough (and also a questionable method, to be honest). I believe that in addition to educating homeowners and beginning pest control, the city should add a careful monitoring program to its Parks and Trees department in order to study and better understand how the infestation is spreading. This could include implementation of active adaptive management solutions, which use more than one type of policy to inform decisions, use monitoring resources as a main feature, and have a focusing on learning (which is already a part of Fredericton’s plan anyway). There also needs to be more opportunity for different types of knowledge to be incorporated into the Emerald Ash Borer management plan, as different points of view and skillsets always lend themselves to a more rounded and well thought out solution. This would be achieved best by encouraging public participation in monitoring activities, and providing education not only about how the Ash Borer can impact homeowners, but also the impacts that it can have on the environment in general- hopefully increasing the level of public and government awareness.

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