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Thursday, July 28, 2011

New ash management guide helps forest landowners prepare before emerald ash borer arrives

University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have published a new guide, "Ash Management for Private Forest Landowners," to help property owners prepare for the arrival of emerald ash borer (EAB), a significant invasive forest pest. EAB's potential to kill ash trees threatens the vitality of local economies and communities, impacting timber and fiber production, plants, wildlife and water quality. Private landowners own approximately 50 percent of Minnesota's forest acreage.

"There are nearly 1 billion ash trees in Minnesota, and some of the state's wetland forests are more than 50 percent ash," said Angela Gupta, Extension natural resources educator. "Black ash trees also line many Minnesota lakes and rivers and play a critical role in the health of our bodies of water." The free publication helps landowners assess threats to their land before the pest arrives, map out a management strategy, and take action to protect the state's forests. The guide features a systems approach in delivering recommendations for Minnesota landscapes with ash. Included are suggestions on harvest operations, maintaining biological diversity, and replacement species to help diversify the state's forests. "If we don't prepare now, we could lose entire ecosystems," said Gupta. Other states, such as Michigan and New York, have lost similar forest ecosystems due to EAB. EAB was first discovered in Minnesota two years ago, but has not yet been found north of the Twin Cities metro area. It was first identified in St. Paul in 2009, and has since been found in Houston County and Minneapolis. It was discovered in Shoreview in July 2011. Access the "Ash Management Guide for Private Forest Landowners" online at http://MyMinnesotaWoods.umn.edu. - Angela Gupta, natural resource educator with University of Minnesota Extension. 

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