Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ottawa tangles with emerald ash borer - Ottawa, Canada

Ottawa tangles with emerald ash borer | OpenFile

Is Ottawa doing enough to protect its ash trees?

The city's stock of that threatened species of tree is in danger of being consumed by an invasive insect called the emerald ash borer. A bright green beetle that originally hails from Asia, the EAB has a voracious appetite for ash trees—bad news for Ottawa and other cities that favour this species. Since its first Ottawa appearance near St. Laurent Boulevard and Highway 417 in the summer of 2008, the EAB has killed hundreds of trees in the capital region.

“EAB is the most significant tree health issue since Dutch Elm disease,” says David Barkley, the city's manager of forestry services, referring to the scourge that decimated elms a few decades back.

Barkley estimates there are 319,000 trees on city property in Ottawa, but isn’t sure of the number of trees on private land. About a quarter of the city’s tree canopy is made up of ash, which was, ironically, a popular substitute for elms in many North American municipalities.

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