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Progress and Challenges of Protecting North American Ash Trees from the Emerald Ash Borer Using Biological Control

1
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit, Newark, DE 19713, USA
2
United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Lansing, MI 48910, USA
3
Department of Environment and Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
4
United States of Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Science and Technology, Buzzards Bay, MA 02542, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(3), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9030142
Received: 11 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 11 March 2018 / Published: 15 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding and Managing Emerald Ash Borer Impacts on Ash Forests)
After emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, was discovered in the United States, a classical biological control program was initiated against this destructive pest of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). This biocontrol program began in 2007 after federal regulatory agencies and the state of Michigan approved release of three EAB parasitoid species from China: Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang (Eulophidae), Spathius agrili Yang (Braconidae), and Oobius agrili Zhang and Huang (Encyrtidae). A fourth EAB parasitoid, Spathius galinae Belokobylskij (Braconidae) from Russia, was approved for release in 2015. We review the rationale and ecological premises of the EAB biocontrol program, and then report on progress in North American ash recovery in southern Michigan, where the parasitoids were first released. We also identify challenges to conserving native Fraxinus using biocontrol in the aftermath of the EAB invasion, and provide suggestions for program improvements as EAB spreads throughout North America. We conclude that more work is needed to: (1) evaluate the establishment and impact of biocontrol agents in different climate zones; (2) determine the combined effect of EAB biocontrol and host plant resistance or tolerance on the regeneration of North American ash species; and (3) expand foreign exploration for EAB natural enemies throughout Asia. View Full-Text
Keywords: Fraxinus; ash regeneration; Agrilus planipennis; biocontrol; natural enemy introductions; parasitoids; invasive pests Fraxinus; ash regeneration; Agrilus planipennis; biocontrol; natural enemy introductions; parasitoids; invasive pests
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Duan, J.J.; Bauer, L.S.; Van Driesche, R.G.; Gould, J.R. Progress and Challenges of Protecting North American Ash Trees from the Emerald Ash Borer Using Biological Control. Forests 2018, 9, 142.

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