Development and Assessment of Municipal Ash Tree Management Decision Models

2013 | Jordan Marshall, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Since its introduction and subsequent discovery in Michigan in 2002, emerald ash borer [EAB] has caused significant mortality of ash trees within both urban and natural landscapes. Urban trees require more management intervention and subsequent financial costs due to the proximity of those trees to private and public property. Removal of all ash trees in a single year is not a viable option for municipalities due to limited financial and human resources. Also, removal of all ash trees is not necessary because some ash trees will survive. This has been demonstrated even in areas of metro-Detroit where large, healthy ash trees have been exposed to EAB since the mid-1990s. This project seeks to develop and assess decision models that may be implemented by municipalities in deciding the necessity of removing specific ash trees. Models will be developed to identify the potential for an ash tree to survive into the future. If a tree will survive for a few or several years, then it may not require managers to remove that tree in the immediate fiscal year. A four year data set has been produced from 2009-2012 of tree survival, health condition, and subsequent mortality in southeastern Michigan parks. This data from Michigan will be used to develop initial decision models to be tested. Assessments of ash within northeastern Indiana urban parks will be used as a basis to test these decision models to identify which trees need to be removed because they will die and which trees will survive another year or more. Secondary models will be developed as data becomes available. Data will be used to produce a potentially deployable management model that will be disseminated through publication in a suitable peer-reviewed journal and on a publicly accessible Web site.