|Emerald Ash Borer trap.|
Photo: Fairfax County Gov't
|Emerald Ash Borer damage. Photo: Purdue University|
Department of Entomology
The story of how the insect even arrived in Maryland illustrates why the United States has eradicated exactly zero invasive species, despite a century of effort and hundreds of millions of dollars spent trying to achieve just one complete removal. According to Maryland DNR, the initial infested shipment into Maryland occurred when a nurseryman, fearful of the Ash Borer known to be ravaging Michigan, ordered a supply of native ash trees from a nursery in Tennessee. Unbeknownst to him, his supply used remote "drop shipping," asking a wholesale supplier in Michigan to send the ash trees directly out of the Ash Borer's infestation area and into Maryland. A plant inspector for the Maryland Department of Agriculture found the beetles, but it was too late - most of them had already left the DC-area nursery already.
Photo: Aldertree Garden
Perhaps it's time to stop holding our collective noses and pretending that "preserving" these areas in their current condition isn't benefiting our natural environment. The Nature Conservancy, our country's largest conservation non-profit organization, certainly thinks so, and they've been aggressively removing Ash trees from their properties in the "Emerald Ash Borer zone." Maybe we shouldn't count on an invasive species not happening again. Maybe just pretending that "a tree is a tree" isn't working anymore. Maybe it's time to fix our streams and plant resilient forests that will serve the next generation of Baltimore residents. Who's with me?