Most woodlot owners are familiar with the emerald ash borer (EAB). This invasive insect attacks all five species of ash present in Ontario, and has been shown to kill an estimated 97% of ash trees as they move through an area. Landowners and foresters have responded with various management techniques, many of which include the removal of ash trees. Many folks have adopted the long-term view of encouraging woodlot resiliency; that is, reducing ash tree stocking and encouraging the residual stocking and regeneration of other species.
The black ash is a moisture-loving tree that is found everywhere in Ontario except in the far North. Due to EAB pressure, its population has been projected to decline by over 70% in the next 100 years. Black ash has thus been listed as Endangered by the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO). This means that the Ontario Species at Risk list will be updated to include black ash as an Endangered species by January 27, 2022. After it is updated, black ash and their habitats will become protected by law against being killed or harmed.
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks is seeking early input on the protection and recovery approach for this species. I would encourage anybody with thoughts on either this listing or the protection and recovery approach to fill out MECP’s survey for black ash protection and recovery by May 27, 2021. This is a great opportunity to provide perspective into your unique situation, and to have your voice heard by those who will set the policy for future black ash management.
There is an abundance of good resources for ash management and emerald ash borer. I have listed a few below:
- Managing Ash in Farm Woodlots; some suggested prescriptions – P.A. Williams and T.D. Schwan
- Preparing for Emerald Ash Borer: A Landowner’s Guide to Managing Ash Forests – Martin Streit, Taylor Scarr, Lynn Farintosh (MNRF)
- Emerald Ash Borer – Invasive Species Centre
The new and changed species at risk listings can be found here: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-3524
COSSARO’s black ash risk evaluation report can be downloaded here (right click and select “open in new tab”): http://cossaroagency.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/COSSARO_Evaluation_blackash_FINAL.pdf
COSSARO’s full report to the Minister can be viewed here (search “black ash” for a summary of their rationale): https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-2020-annual-report-committee-status-species-risk-ontario-cossaro
Again, I encourage you to participate in this process. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions.
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