Emerald Ash Borer – Saving a Species

Emerald Ash Borer Saving a Species

Dawn Chorus
Slowly but surely, the United States is losing its ash trees to an invasive species of beetle called the Emerald Ash Borer. But there are efforts to save the trees. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Rosenthal: I’m involved in some efforts to try and identify resistant ash genotypes and hopefully eventually breed these. But that’s something along way down the road.

Biologist Jonathan Rosenthal is with the Ecological Research Institute in Kingston, NY.

Rosenthal: There have been efforts to identify natural enemies of the emerald ash borer. These include not only woodpeckers but also some parasitic wasps that lay their eggs in the larvae of the emerald ash borer. But they cannot keep the populations under control. They’re still spreading rapidly. If you’re a homeowner and you want to on protect a few high-value ash trees that are a particular importance to you, then you can inject them with systemic insecticides. These are quite effective. They give virtually complete protection for a few years, and those rich injections need to be repeated every few years. They are on the order of several hundred dollars per tree. So obviously that’s not going to work on the scale of a forest.

In China, ash trees are resistant to the Emerald Ash Borer, so why not bring Chinese trees to repopulate our forests?

Rosenthal: We would then have another ecological mismatch and who knows what the consequences of that would be? For all we know, that’ll end up being invasive tree. When you try to tamper with nature and bring in one thing to solve one problem, you’re likely to create another problem.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research. I’m Jim Metzner.

Emerald Ash Borer - Saving a Species

Natural enemies, resistant genotypes - all part of the effort to save our ash trees.
Air Date:01/20/2017
Scientist:
Transcript:

Emerald Ash Borer Saving a Species

Dawn Chorus
Slowly but surely, the United States is losing its ash trees to an invasive species of beetle called the Emerald Ash Borer. But there are efforts to save the trees. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Rosenthal: I'm involved in some efforts to try and identify resistant ash genotypes and hopefully eventually breed these. But that's something along way down the road.

Biologist Jonathan Rosenthal is with the Ecological Research Institute in Kingston, NY.

Rosenthal: There have been efforts to identify natural enemies of the emerald ash borer. These include not only woodpeckers but also some parasitic wasps that lay their eggs in the larvae of the emerald ash borer. But they cannot keep the populations under control. They're still spreading rapidly. If you're a homeowner and you want to on protect a few high-value ash trees that are a particular importance to you, then you can inject them with systemic insecticides. These are quite effective. They give virtually complete protection for a few years, and those rich injections need to be repeated every few years. They are on the order of several hundred dollars per tree. So obviously that's not going to work on the scale of a forest.

In China, ash trees are resistant to the Emerald Ash Borer, so why not bring Chinese trees to repopulate our forests?

Rosenthal: We would then have another ecological mismatch and who knows what the consequences of that would be? For all we know, that'll end up being invasive tree. When you try to tamper with nature and bring in one thing to solve one problem, you're likely to create another problem.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research. I'm Jim Metzner.