In the wake of a landmark summit on emerald ash borer (EAB) management hosted by Valent Professional Products, the newly-formed Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation (CUATC) has released an EAB Management Statement that provides stakeholders with recommendations on how to approach EAB management in urban landscapes.
Comprised of leading university researchers and extension specialists; tree and land care company representatives; non-governmental organizations; municipal arborists and foresters; and a representative from Valent Professional Products, the CUATC has developed a “consensus document” to help clarify misconceptions about EAB management options and bring a unified voice to management strategies for dealing this devastating pest.
Native to Asia and first discovered in the U.S. in 2002, EAB is an invasive insect pest that has killed tens of millions of ash trees across 15 Midwestern and Eastern states and threatens to kill millions more as it continues to spread.
The 20 co-signatories who helped craft the EAB Management Statement said they “strongly endorse ash tree conservation as a fundamental component of integrated programs to manage EAB in residential and municipal landscapes. Cost-effective, environmentally sound EAB treatment protocols are now available that can preserve ash trees through peak EAB outbreaks with healthy canopy intact. Used in association with tree inventories and strategic removal/replacement of unhealthy ash, tree conservation will help maintain maximum integrity and value of urban forests.”
Dr. Joe Chamberlin, regional field development manager for Valent Professional Products, said the completion of the EAB Management Statement marks an important turning point in the fight to save ash trees from EAB. The EAB Management Statement is already being distributed to stakeholders at local levels, with the hope that it will help encourage conservation of urban forests and provide accurate information about currently registered treatment options.
“This document will help increase alignment between different groups—governmental, scientific and the arborists—regarding EAB management,” Chamberlin said. “It emphasizes the point that conservation of healthy ash trees is more sensible in many cases, from economic, environmental and public safety perspectives, than tree removal.”
Having underscored the importance of ash trees to urban forests—they account for 10 to 40 percent of canopy cover in many communities—the CUATC describes some of the ecosystem benefits provided by ash trees as well as the economic and environmental impacts associated with their removal and loss.
The CUATC also emphasizes the strong scientific support for an integrated approach to management, discrediting the prevailing belief that tree removal is a valid strategy for slowing the spread of EAB. The coalition then lists the three chemical options for EAB control that have been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency: dinotefuran, emamactin benzoate and imidacloprid.
“When applied using formulations, products, and protocols documented as effective by university research,” the coalition states, “these treatments can provide environmentally sound control of EAB, sufficient to maintain a functional and aesthetically pleasing ash canopy.”
Noting that conservation can be less costly than removal, the coalition states that treatment is most appropriate once EAB has been detected within 15 miles and that treatment is “most effective when applied before trees are infested.”
Brad Bonham, a certified arborist and municipal consultant from the Cincinnati area who compiled and edited the document, described the process of getting 20 signatures on a common document as “a huge task.”
“But everyone was very committed to the process and brought different points of view to the table,” Bonham said. “There were tremendous insights and there was a tremendous desire to achieve a common statement that would be universally applicable and useful in the field, where people are making these decisions about ash trees and their inventory.”
To read the EAB Management Statement in full, and for more information on the Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation, please visit http://www.emeraldashborer.info/files/conserve_ash.pdf.