Emerald Ash Borer: No More Quarantine?

The federal government is looking to possibly lift quarantines for the invasive emerald ash borer. Currently, this quarantine restricts movement of firewood from ash trees across state lines from states that already have emerald ash borer. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) told news sources that “33 states have EAB infestations, and every year the insect continues to be detected beyond the quarantine boundaries.” Based on the beetle’s continuous spread with the quarantine, eradication is not possible according to USDA APHIS. Federal and state forestry officials say that the quarantine has most likely slowed the spread of the emerald ash borer, but it hasn’t done enough to stop the spread.

 U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

USDA APHIS will make a final ruling in about 60 days after a public comment period in July 2018. The Forest Service considers the emerald ash borer to be the most destructive pest ever seen in North America, with economic costs reaching billions of dollars. Other approaches, including studies on resistant ash trees as well as biological controls are also being researched and explored. Developing a resistant tree and cloning it may be the best answer, says Connecticut state Forester Christopher Martin. Offering a silver lining, Martin said “We don’t think all hope is lost.”

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Original Article Information:
Marc Heller, E&E News reporter. Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2018.