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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 38, Issue 4 — July 2012

To Treat or Remove: An Economic Model to Assist in Deciding the Fate of Ash Trees Threatened by Emerald Ash Borer    (View PDF)

Daniel W. McKenney and John H. Pedlar

Abstract: A model is presented to assist in deciding the fate of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) threatened by the arrival of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) in North America. The model tracks ongoing treatment costs versus one-time costs associated with removal and replacement. All future values are discounted following standard economic practice. For each year over a period of interest, the net treatment gain/loss is calculated, indicating the period of time over which a homeowner would be financially ahead/behind by treating the existing ash tree. The model was populated, with values that may be expected in Canadian conditions, where treatment options are more limited than in the United States. Optional model features include property value premiums, energy savings, runoff and pollution benefits, and ongoing maintenance costs. When these extended benefits and costs are included, positive treatment gains for a medium-sized ash persist for about 17 years. Negative values can be interpreted as a “break-even existence value,” an amount a homeowner would be required to pay in order to protect their ash if various other benefit flows fail to compensate the costs. An interactive version of the model is available online (

Keywords: Agrilus planipennis; Canadian Forest Service Ash Protection Model: CFS-APM; Cost-benefit Analysis; Emerald Ash Borer; Insecticide Treatments; Urban Forest Management

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