In the Face of Emerald Ash Borer Devastation, Michigan Embraces Tree Diversity
For the trees of Michigan, it’s been a tough decade.
In 2002, the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle, was discovered in Detroit. Since then, the insects have been weaseling their way into ash trees, effectively devastating Michigan’s ash tree population.
When an Emerald Ash Borer gets its way into an ash tree, the tree will begin dying at the tips of the stems. Slowly, the middle of the trunk will begin sprouting branches, and “D” shaped holes will begin forming in the center. This is where the beetles burrow, cutting the tree off from nutrients and therefore starving it.
Once struck with the blight, the tree typically dies within five years.
This ash tree devastation isn’t only occurring in Michigan. In fact, there are officially 26 counties that have fallen prey to the glimmering beetle’s tree-killing powers. And at least 21 other states have also been affected by the ash borer.
Back in Michigan, residents are feeling the effects of the tree blight, particularly in residential areas.
Trees offer many benefits to neighborhoods, such as beauty and noise pollution control; their shade can even lead to a 12% reduction in energy bills within 15 years.
All of these factors make trees an asset to residential homes in areas like Detroit, and without these trees, real estate property value has suffered.
Despite the problems that the blight has caused, Michigan has not given up on its parks and foliage. Rather, the residents of Michigan and the state’s arboreal specialists have instead begun to embrace the great tree diversity in the great state.
Although ash trees do make up a part of the tree population, there are 26 types indigenous to Michigan, including hemlock trees, ginkgo trees, and various kinds of oak trees.
To preserve the diversity of tree species in Michigan, scientists are working hard to protect them from other threats and diseases. This kind of diligence is important, as a world with trees is a happy one indeed.