Friday, May 21, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week: May 23-29

It’s been six years since Michigan’s governor formally declared emerald ash borer (EAB) Awareness Week-today governors from Maryland to Nebraska are issuing their own proclamations in an effort to increase public awareness about EAB and the risk associated with moving firewood.

This year APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program will re-launch its popular “Burn It Where You Buy It” firewood campaign providing almost 15,000 vinyl yards signs and other promotional materials to 16 States and 3 Native American tribes. Because firewood is a primary pathway for the transfer of invasive pests like EAB, garnering public support and participation is important to reducing the human-assisted spread of forest pests and safeguarding our natural and urban landscapes.

Participating States include those with known EAB infestations (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin) and 4 unaffected States (Colorado, Kansas, South Dakota, and Iowa). Tribal participation includes the Leech Lake Band of the Ojibwe, Penobscot Nation and St. Regis Mohawk tribe.

Ash trees are as important ecologically in the forest of the northeastern United State and eastern Canada, as they are economically. Ash trees are very desirable for urban planting because they grow well under difficult conditions; plus its wood is valued for flooring, furniture, sports equipment and tool handles. Ash, in particular the black ash species, is culturally important to many Native American tribes in their ceremonies and traditional crafts.

The emerald ash borer is a very small but very destructive beetle. Native to China and eastern Asia, the EAB was first detected in southeastern Michigan in the summer of 2002. On this continent, the EAB attacks only ash trees and all ash species-green, white, black and blue- are at risk. This beetle is responsible for the death or decline of tens of millions of ash trees.


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