Indiana has abandoned plans to destroy two towns worth of ash trees, and with it, plans to eradicate the emerald ash borer beetle (Agrilus planipennis), according to this story from The Decatur Daily Democrat. Responsibility for controlling the spread of the beetles throughout Adams County now falls to property owners, who have been advised to remove their ash trees or apply chemicals to try to prevent the beetles from attacking them. The state cited a lack of resources, specifically federal funding, as the reason for the decision. A quarantine has also been expanded to keep any ash products from leaving the county (I hope someone notified the beetles about it!). The ISW previously reported about Indiana's emerald ash borer invasion back in January 2006.
Points for Discussion:
- Does it make sense for the state to just give up? With limited resources, perhaps it is best to recognize when it is too late to control an invasion.
- Now that landowners are in control of their own land, do you see the invasion getting worse, or staying the same? Do property-rights advocates consider Indiana's announcement a positive development?
Tip of the virtual hat to Sandy L. for posting this story to the ALIENS-L listserver.
Update 2/18/2006: Ohio joins the club and says "Hole-y Toledo!" (via the Toledo Blade - Thanks Bob C.!)
I really don't think the beetles will be able to be contained until they spread to a region that doesn't have huge numbers of ash trees. Trees in forested areas (for instance, the hundreds of acres of natural area on our urban campus) can't all be treated or cut down, and act as reservoirs for reinfestation of neighboring areas. The change here in southeast Michigan will be as profound as with Dutch elm disease or chestnut blight.
As someone in SE Michigan, i'll just say this. If it had been up to me, i'd probably still have my Ash trees. I had no idea that they were dead, much less infected. The down took them down. I could barely afford the damage to my sidewalk. My ash trees were big enough that i'd have been ill equiped to take them down myself. The town did it, and all i can say, is that i hope it helps. Fortunately, the previous owners did not go with a single species approach to the property. Diversity is king. I have not replaced the trees. It looks pretty good to have some open space in the front yard.
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