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National forests typically offer beautiful scenery to visitors. However, this may not last for long, as many parks and forests within the northeastern region of the United States are being overwhelmed with tree destroying insect pests. The emerald ash borer (EAB) was first detected in New York in 2009. Upon this discovery officials attempted to quarantine the area in order to ensure that the EAB would not be able to reproduce and kill numerous nearby ash trees. However, the insect pests were able to escape this quarantine. Now, years later, certain interested parties are worried about the widespread devastation that these insect pests may soon cause to the many ash trees located in the northeast region of the US.

Businessmen and property owners are already asking the Legislature’s Public Works Committee to locate more ash trees. It is the hope that ash trees can be sprayed with an insecticide before ash borers find and rapidly destroy the trees. Sadly, at the moment, there are very few, if any, records in existence that tell of ash tree locations within forests located in the northeastern US. This lack of information is due to poor management, as well as incomplete records, in several counties that own large portions of forest land.

Much of this county controlled forest land used to be privately owned. However, during the 60’s and 70’s, several foreclosures put this once privately owned forest land into the care of several counties within Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New York. After these foreclosures, the counties became responsible for managing the land and mapping the location of particular trees. Now, around fifty years later, it is clear that several counties failed to create detailed maps indicating the location of particular trees. A lack of management in the forestry service is now making the monitoring of EABs more difficult.

A timber buyer for Fitzpatrick & Weller in Ellicottville has expressed concern over the state government’s failure to properly identify ash trees. The buyer said that knowing where ash trees are located, and which ones are dead and which are still alive, is very important. Obviously without this information, the EAB’s pest activity within forests will continue undocumented. There needs to be data concerning the movement and feeding habits of emerald ash borers. The ash borers’ rapid movement is a concern to both environmentalists as well as those profiting from the sell of timber as EABs kill ash trees quickly.

How do you think the invasive emerald ash borer insect arrived within the United States?

 

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