Emerald Ash Borer Incidence and Infestation at McMaster Forest Teaching and Research Facility
Keywords:Fraxinus, Agrilus, invasive species, ecological land classifications, Canada, urban forest
The emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, poses great risk to Canada’s ash trees (Fraxinus spp.); it threatens forested areas, urban shade trees, and manufacturing and shipping industries. EABs interfere with interactions of native species, and have the potential to initiate ecosystem-wide cascades. This study assessed the current state of EAB infestation at McMaster Forest Teaching and Research Facility, and attempted to elucidate relationships between EAB incidence and ecological factors. Ash trees were selected using stratified random sampling within pre-existing habitat classes. Selected trees were then surveyed for evidence of EAB infestation. In addition, tree location, DBH, height of lowest exit holes, and visual assessments of tree health were recorded. Results do not indicate a clear effect of ecological land classification on EAB infestation across the McMaster Forest. Evidence of EAB activity is prevalent throughout the Forest, and across all surveyed land classes: deciduous forest, deciduous woodland, mixed plantation, mixed forest, and deciduous shrub thicket. Additional data suggest that insect-foraging bird damage may be a useful indicator for future assessment of EAB infestation. The results of this study highlight the current state of EAB infestation in McMaster Forest, solidify some principles of the visual techniques used to assess EAB infestation, and provide insight into EAB distribution in relation to several ecological factors.
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