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Regional assessment of emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, impacts in forests of the Eastern United States


Native to Asia, the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) has caused extensive mortality of ash tree species (Fraxinus spp.) in the eastern United States. As of 2013, the pest was documented in 18 % of counties within the natural range of ash in the eastern United States. Regional forest inventory data from the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis program were used to quantify trends in ash mortality rate and volume per hectare relative to the year of initial emerald ash borer detection. Results indicate that the annual ash mortality rate increases by as much as 2.7 % per year after initial detection of the pest in a county. Corresponding decreases in ash volume (as much as 1.8 m3 per hectare per year) continue for several more years until most live ash is killed. These results, while not necessarily representative of the effects on ash in urban ecosystems, document the severe impact this invading herbivore is having on forests as it expands its range in North America.

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We would like to thank Greg Liknes and Louis Iverson for their constructive reviews of an earlier version of this manuscript. We also thank Douglas Bopp, USDA APHIS PPQ, for providing historical EAB detection records.

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Correspondence to Randall S. Morin.

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Morin, R.S., Liebhold, A.M., Pugh, S.A. et al. Regional assessment of emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, impacts in forests of the Eastern United States. Biol Invasions 19, 703–711 (2017).

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  • Agrilus planipennis
  • Fraxinus spp.
  • Emerald ash borer
  • Invasive pest
  • Mortality rates
  • Forest inventory