2017 Webinar: Transitioning Black Ash Wetlands to an EAB Infested Future
Emerald ash borer is just now beginning to extend into the near mono-specific black ash (Fraxinus nigra) wetlands of the western Great Lakes region. Loss of ash from these forests may have profound changes on ecosystem structure and function. I discuss a project located on the Chippewa National Forest that is designed to increase understanding of the ecological impacts of EAB in black ash forests. Treatments implemented in 2012 include clearcutting, group selection, and girdling to simulate EAB-induced ash mortality, with a goal of characterizing how loss of ash will impact tree regeneration and site hydrology. The project includes evaluation of “replacement” tree species that occur in this ecosystem currently, as well several species from the next southern climate zone. Results show that group selection mitigates the extreme changes in hydrology that occur with loss of ash from simulated EAB and clearcutting. Moreover, results on survival and growth of planted tree seedlings show favorable responses for several future climate adapted species, particularly in group openings. Limited potential for natural regeneration suggests that a “do nothing” approach may be insufficient for sustaining trees. As such, planting strategies may be needed to establish replacement tree species that can maintain ecosystem function, are EAB resistant, and adapted to a future climate.
Speaker: Brian Palik, US Forest Service, Northern Research Station
Date recorded: Tuesday, October 17
PDF of slides
References and links mentioned during the webinar:
Details on our entire 2017 webinar series.