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Differential persistence of blue ash and white ash following emerald ash borer invasion

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Catastrophic mortality of North American ash (Fraxinus spp.) caused by Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire has been attributed to the lack of coevolved resistance between native ash species and this Asian invader. Although A. planipennis host preference or tree resistance can vary, all North American ash species are presumably highly vulnerable to A. planipennis. We inventoried live and dead blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata Michx.) and white ash (Fraxinus americana L.) in two southeastern Michigan woodlots several years after the A. planipennis invasion to assess their survival. Agrilus planipennis populations in this area peaked in approximately 2005, and the region is now characterized by nearly complete ash mortality. At the Plymouth site, 71% of the original 380 blue ash were alive, whereas only 29 saplings of the original 187 white ash were alive. At the Superior Township site, 63% of the original 210 blue ash were living, whereas all 125 white ash were dead. More than 80% of the blue ash had evidence of previous A. planipennis colonization, but 87% appeared healthy in 2011. Tree diameter did not consistently affect survival, and live and dead trees of both species were distributed across sites, indicating that differential survival was not attributable to localized conditions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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