Tonawanda News - ENVIRONMENT: Asian beetle has potentially devastating taste for ash trees
By John Hopkins
The Tonawanda News
An invasive green species has arrived in Western New York, and state officials are taking up arms to eradicate the creatures.
Although it doesn’t pose a threat to humans, the Emerald Ash Borer — a type of beetle native to Asia — has the potential to wipe out the ash tree population, on a grander scale than what Dutch elm disease did to urban landscapes in the 1960s and 1970s.
It would also, state officials say, have an impact on the state and national economies. The eastern United States produces nearly 114 million board-feet (1-foot wide, 1-foot long and 1-inch thick) of ash timber at a value of $25.1 million. When you factor in other businesses that benefit from ash wood, the economic losses nationwide could be more than $20 billion.