Managing for Emerald Ash Borer in the urban forest
Master of Science
SubjectEmerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire)
Ash (Fraxinus spp.)
Trees in cities
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Urban forestry is a concept applied to many cities, municipalities, and communities around the world. It is the practice of managing the interface between urban infrastructure and environmental green spaces. An invasive insect known as the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) has been devastating urban forests in southern Ontario since 2002. Larval feeding on ash (Fraxinus spp) can kill a tree in 3-5 years. Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been moving northward eliminating trees by the thousands, and was discovered in the City of Barrie in 2014. In order to manage for EAB, it is crucial to know where the ash trees are located. The City of Barrie has an inventory of publicly owned trees, but not of those on private property. In addition, the public may not be fully aware of the devastating effects of EAB on the urban forest and the associated management strategies. Obtaining the private ash tree inventory depends on residents to self-report on signs of EAB. Current aerial imagery for the City of Barrie was converted into a format suitable for common smart devices. It can be used as a visual aid in communicating the threat of EAB, and to highlight high risk areas. A pilot project of an urban forest health volunteer network was conducted successfully in the Town of Oakville in 2014. The same process of community engagement and urban forest management was demonstrated through a sample inventory in the City of Barrie. The data combined with the imagery is a crucial aid in developing an early detection rapid response management plan for the City. Future possibilities resulting from this thesis project could be the creation of an online database where members of the public can access the digital imagery, self-report on private trees, and remain informed on urban forest management strategies.