Scientists warn of impending environmental catastrophe – an invasive beetle species, according to them, will destroy more than a million ash trees in the next 30 years. According to ecologists, the trees are in danger of an unprecedented ecological catastrophe.
Invasive Ash Pest Came from Asia
A team of environmentalists from McGill University in Canada, led by Emma Hudgins, predict that up to 1.4 million ash trees could disappear in the United States by 2050. The scientists estimate the damage at $ 30 million a year (approximately 27 million euros). According to Hudgins, the culprit of the catastrophe is the ash invasion emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis).
The emerald-colored beetle comes from the East Asia temperate. Apparently, during the 1980s, it penetrated the eastern United States, where it has spread very successfully since then. It is one of the significant pests of ash trees. As a result, sick trees are gradually dying out. Until the extinction of the tree, the whole process takes two to three years.
Tree Biodiversity in the USA
Invasive insects could kill ash trees in more than 6,000 urban areas. As the most vulnerable, Hudgins identified critical high-ash areas: Chicago, Milwaukee, and New York. In the central and southern parts of the USA, 98.8% of all ash trees could disappear. Scientists point to the lack of diversity in tree planting in cities – it is one of the main reasons for the threat of environmental disaster.
Many urban areas are dominated by a single species or genus of trees, which means that new species of invasive pests can spread quickly. In addition, cities are a friendly environment for pests – there are fewer natural predators, and they have higher temperatures than nearby natural forests. “All this creates suitable conditions for the uncontrollable spread of invasive insect species.
Hudgins hopes the study results “will be a warning against growing a single tree species throughout cities.” This is a similar case to the problem of overgrown licorice eaters in Europe. Spruces and pines have replaced deciduous trees. Degraded wood falls to the ground due to the lack of diverse forests.
Source and credit: https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1365-2664.14141, featured photo by Benjamin Smith from United States – Agrilus planipennis – Emerald Ash Borer, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37144615, pixabay.com