Emerald Ash Borer
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an introduced insect pest from Asia that attacks and kills all species of ash (genus: Fraxinus) trees. This invasive pest devastated ash trees in southern Ontario and parts of the United States since its discovery in Detroit, Michigan in 2002.
In 2007, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the presence of the EAB in Toronto in the vicinity of Sheppard Avenue East and Highway 404.
As a result of the EAB infestation in southern Ontario, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has instituted a quarantine zone through a Ministerial Order which covers most of southern Ontario: CFIA Link: EAB Quarantine Zone. The Ministerial Order identifies prohibitions and restrictions of movement on nursery stock, trees, leaves, logs, lumber, wood, wood chips and bark chips from all ash species and for firewood of all species. This is necessary to prevent the spread of the EAB into un-infested areas in other parts of Ontario and Canada.
The City of Toronto's recent tree canopy study estimates that there are 860,000 ash trees in total on public and private lands. Inspections and systematic surveys in 2008-2011 have confirmed the EAB infestation throughout most parts of the City.
All ash trees in Toronto are at risk of dying from this infestation. Ash mortality may occur in as short a period as one year, however, death normally occurs within 2-3 years of a tree becoming infested. EAB will eventually kill most ash trees in the City by about 2015 - 2017. The City of Toronto has implemented a plan (Staff report: Strategy for the Management of the Emerald Ash Borer - PDF) to manage the impact of EAB on Toronto's urban forest. Updated in 2012 (Staff report: Update on the Strategy for the Management of Emerald Ash Borer - PDF), the main components of the management plan are:
- Systematic survey of infestation and ash mortality
- Insecticide injection of 13,000 selected ash trees
- Removal of dead and dying ash trees
- Tree replacement and proactive planting
- Communication and public outreach
- Co-operation with public and private sector, research and development and other stakeholders.
To learn more about the experience of the United States in dealing with EAB and what Urban Forestry is doing to educate residents of Toronto about this pest, read the staff report entitled Educating Homeowners about the Emerald Ash Borer and the U.S. Experience in the Protection of Ash Trees.