Emerald ash borer modeling methods for future forest projectionsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire; EAB) is a nonnative invasive insect that has caused considerable damage to ash (Fraxinus spp.) in North America. Unlike invasive organisms that can be mitigated, contained, controlled, or even eradicated, EAB continues to spread across North America. The loss of the North American ash resource is possible considering literature suggests close to 100 percent probability of host tree mortality. We modeled future spatial and temporal changes in forest composition from 2010 to 2060 with and without ash mortality anticipated from EAB spread for the purpose of examining anticipated effects of EAB on tree species composition. To forecast midwest and northeast United States future forest conditions, we utilized Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data, the extent of EAB in the United States and Canada, estimated EAB spread rate, estimated EAB host mortality probability, and models of human population, energy, consumption, land use, and economics. We found that in most cases, EAB will not substantially affect the ecosystem function of future forests measured by FIA because ash comprises a small proportion of midwest and northeast U.S. forests, and it will be replaced by associated species. Although the transition from ash to other species could take decades, forests may eventually recover when associated species replace ash.