The Spread Of The Emerald Ash Borer

Managing invasive species through a map based approach

 As global travel and trade have increased substantially in recent decades, so too, has the accidental migration of plant and animal species.  With no predators to keep their numbers in check, invasive species can multiply aggressively and quickly overwhelm new environments.

A few of these nuisance species in Southern Ontario include:

  • Zebra Mussel
  • Asian Carp
  • Purple Loosestrife
  • Giant Hogweed
  • Asian Long-horned Beetle
  • Gypsy Moth
  • Round Goby

And a recent arrival: Emerald Ash Borer.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) lays eggs on various species of ash tree.  The larvae then feast on the host tree's inner bark, interrupting the supply of nutrition to the crown which eventually kills the tree.

Where is it?
It was first found in Windsor in 2002.  By 2007, it was present in Toronto, and reached Montreal in 2011.  With it's territory quickly expanding, regional strategies are rapidly coming together to manage this pest, requiring cooperation with other jurisdictions and leveraging the power of citizen involvement.

What's the big deal?
Ash, as with many hardwoods, are important economically to Canada's $19.8 billion forestry industry, but the decline in ash species will have more than just financial consequences.  Ash are also well suited to urban environments and contribute to the green space and overall livability in big cities.

What can we do?
Prevention is the best option, but now they're here, the infestation must be contained. Individual trees must be targeted for pesticide application and removal of affected branches.  In the worst case scenario, the tree must be removed and replaced with a sapling.

How to get started?
First, the infected and vulnerable trees must be identified and located. Map-based solutions that make use of high resolution aerial imagery, allowing a simple but effective way to communicate exact locations of individual trees and compare conditions year over year make a lot of sense for this purpose. Many local municipalities have already undertaken surveys of public property to create GIS based inventories marking tree locations, their health condition, and pesticide protection status on a map. 

First Base Solutions is a geospatial expert, qualified to develop custom mapping applications using our own high resolution, up-to-date aerial imagery as base.  We offer an off-the-shelf solution called VuMAP, with easy to use tools for many business applications, including managing tree inventories.  Try a free trial subscription to see how VuMAP can help manage the EAB infestation.


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