Washington, DC (July 9, 2007)- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Friday announced an additional $11.3 million in emergency funding to combat an invasive insect from China that is killing ash trees across eastern and midwestern states. The emerald ash borer has been responsible for the death and decline of more than 25 million ash trees in the United States. Johanns said, “The emerald ash borer funding is for enhanced early detection efforts and strict quarantine enforcement.”
USDA will provide the emergency funding to states with established emerald ash borer programs and quarantines to support pest detection, control, regulation of host material that will mitigate the risk of further spread of the pest, as well as outreach and education to the general public.
A portion of the funding will be provided to targeted uninfested states at risk for the emerald ash borer for additional survey and response if a detection of the pest should occur. Early detection of new infestations is critical to enhancing USDA’s ability to eradicate such incursions and contain the pest within quarantine areas.
The emerald ash borer is a wood-boring beetle native to China and eastern Asia that targets ash trees in North America. It was first detected in July of 2002 in southeastern Michigan and has since been found in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Illinois, and most recently in Pennsylvania. More than 177,934 square miles are currently quarantined due to infestations of this beetle.
Emerald ash borer larvae feed in the phloem and outer sapwood of ash trees, eventually killing the branches and entire trees. Trees can die within two to three years of becoming infested.
Ash trees are important to wildlife species because of their seed production and are important to the nursery, landscaping, timber, recreation, and tourism industries, as well as an anchor in many urban forests.
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