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Evaluating Adaptive Management Options for Black Ash Forests in the Face of Emerald Ash Borer Invasion

Formally Refereed
Authors: Anthony D'Amato, Brian Palik, Robert Slesak, Greg Edge, Colleen Matula, Dustin Bronson
Year: 2018
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Northern Research Station
Source: Forests


The arrival and spread of emerald ash borer (EAB) across the western Great Lakes region has shifted considerable focus towards developing silvicultural strategies that minimize the impacts of this invasive insect on the structure and functioning of black ash (Fraxinus nigra) wetlands. Early experience with clearcutting in these forests highlighted the risks of losing ash to EAB from these ecosystems, with stands often retrogressing to marsh-like conditions with limited tree cover. Given these experiences and an urgency for increasing resilience to EAB, research efforts began in north-central Minnesota in 2009 followed by additional studies and trials in Michigan and Wisconsin to evaluate the potential for using regeneration harvests in conjunction with planting of replacement species to sustain forested wetland habitats after EAB infestations. Along with these more formal experiments, a number of field trials and demonstrations have been employed by managers across the region to determine effective ways for reducing the vulnerability of black ash forest types to EAB. This paper reviews the results from these recent experiences with managing black ash for resilience to EAB and describes the insights gained on the ecological functioning of these forests and the unique, foundational role played by black ash.


black ash, adaptive silviculture, emerald ash borer, Lake States, hydrology, habitat type


D'Amato, Anthony; Palik, Brian; Slesak, Robert; Edge, Greg; Matula, Colleen; Bronson, Dustin. 2018. Evaluating Adaptive Management Options for Black Ash Forests in the Face of Emerald Ash Borer Invasion. Forests. 9(6): 348-.