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Emerald ash borer puts trees on path to functional extinction

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —Since the emerald ash borer’s introduction to the United States at the beginning of the 21st century, forest ecologists and government officials have striven to stem its destruction of ash forests. Despite those efforts, the invasive pest may be winning the war.

Image of Ash
(Photo provided by Songlin Fei)

Mining 16 years of U.S. Forestry Service Forest Inventory Analysis data for 960 counties, Purdue University professor Songlin Fei has shown that in impacted areas, young trees are dying before they can reach their reproductive stages. Unable to compete with larger trees or resist the emerald ash borer, American ash trees may be doomed to functional extinction.

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Saunders Looks at Impacts of Prescribed Fire
on Quality, Economic Value

Prescribed fire is one technique utilized for forest management and tree stand improvement, but what effects does it have on resulting lumber in the treated area and, in turn, what economic impacts could that have long term.

Forest on fire using prescribed fire techniquesMike Saunders, associate professor of ecology and natural resources, is the principal investigator on a project with the U.S. Forest Service that aims to answer those questions by determining the effects of prescribed fire on tree and stand quality, resulting potential lumber grade recovery and projected economic value.

The research, which is funded by the Join Fire Science program, also counts Jan Wiedenbeck, Dan Dey and Thomas Schuler of the Forest Service as co-PIs.

The group aims to quantify the relationship between average tree quality and time since inception of a prescribed fire application in a mature stand, to describe the relationship between lumber value recovery and visual fire damage characteristics on standing trees, and then apply those findings from tree-level to stand-level to determine lumber value recovery related to fire history in the oak-dominated stands.
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