EMPORIUM – The white ash tree is an important tree species in Pennsylvania, especially in the north-central region because it is a source of food for wildlife. It is also a valuable timber species. The wood is used for athletic equipment, such as baseball bats, furniture, tool handles and much more.
Emerald ash borer was first identified in North America in southeastern Michigan in 2002. In the years since that discovery, the beetle has spread into Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Ontario, Quebec. The continued spread of the insect seems imminent, according to Jeanne Wambaugh of the Elk State Forest.
Emerald ash borer, she said, feeds exclusively on all ash species in North America. Host species include green ash, white ash, black ash, blue ash, and pumpkin ash. Tens of millions of ash trees, she said, have been lost to this pest, which usually kills ash trees within 3-4 years of infestation.
Because of the quick and devastating effects of this invasive beetle, the Bureau of Forestry has developed a statewide Ash Management Plan, said Wambaugh.
In addition to the statewide plan, the Elk State Forest she said will be developing a plan specifically for our forest district. She said the objectives of the plan are:
- Maintain ash in the forest
- Protect endangered ash species
- Mitigate potential negative impacts
- Conserve economic value
- Manage seed orchards and collect seeds
- Conduct training and public outreach
If you have any comments or suggestion concerning ash management, please call the District Office at 814-486-3353. You can visit the Bureau online at www.dcnr.state.pa.us. Also check out the Bureau on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elkstateforest.