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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 37, Issue 2 — March 2011

Community Ash Densities and Economic Impact Potential of Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) in Four Midwestern States    (View PDF)

T. Davis Sydnor, Matthew Bumgardner, and Sakthi Subburayalu

Abstract: A survey of 586 community representatives with urban tree canopy responsibilities was conducted to provide data on ash density within four states in the Midwestern U.S., and to examine potential economic losses should emerald ash borer (EAB) become established in their communities. One hundred twenty-three responses were received from communities of various sizes. Data represented 10.5% of the population of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, U.S., and 21% of all communities surveyed. Assuming the complete loss of ash due to EAB, losses in landscape value for ash trees within community boundaries were estimated to be between USD $7.7 (median-based) and $15 billion (mean-based). The cost to remove those trees is somewhat smaller and would be between $3 and $5.8 billion. Replacing trees lost to EAB with smaller 5 cm trees in street, park, and private plantings would cost between $2.7 and $5.2 billion. The total loss of ash for communities in the four states surveyed, including landscape losses, tree removals, and replacements are estimated to be between $13.4 and $26 billion. The potential total costs per 1,000 residents in the four-state region is estimated to be between $395,943 and $769,687. The rates per 1,000 residents estimates can be utilized by communities to begin developing contingency plans should EAB impact them.

Keywords: Agrilus planipennis; Ash Tree Density; Cost of Ash Tree Removal/Replacement; Economic Impact; Emerald Ash Borer; EAB; Fraxinus; Green Ash; Survey; White Ash

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