Emerald Ash Borer in the WVU Aboretum - Differences in Ash Tree Mortality Based on Topographic Factors

Authors: Laurence SanBoeuf*, West Virginia University, Francesca Basil*, West Virginia University
Topics: Environmental Science, Urban and Regional Planning, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Invasive Species, Emerald Ash Borer, Forest/Wildlife Management
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: Download


Emerald ash borer, EAB, is an invasive species introduced to North America around 1990, first observed in the West Virginia University, WVU, Arboretum in 2014. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of EAB within the WVU Arboretum over a period from 2015-2017, and to address whether slope and elevation played a role in the speed and severity of these effects. Students at WVU collected data from 60-76 ash trees within the arboretum and recorded typical symptoms of EAB, including D- shaped exit holes, bark splitting, basal sprouting, epicormic sprouting, and woodpecker probing. Students also assessed overall tree health by recording yellow foliage and crown dieback, and rated the percentage of tree crown alive on a scale of 1-6. I then evaluated tree mortality over the three-year period and assessed differences in mortality based on slope and elevation. The results show that three years after the introduction of EAB, 87% of ash trees were dead, and topography did in fact affect the speed and severity of decline. In 2017, trees on a slope from 20-26° had only 33% mortality, and at elevations from 275-300 m, only 50% mortality, while other slope bins showed 87-100% mortality, and other elevation bins showed 79-100% mortality. This suggests that some factors in these areas, possibly soil moisture content, played a significant role in the rate of mortality. These results can be used to more effectively implement remediation and eradication efforts of EAB within ash tree stands.

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