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A Call to Action for Ash Tree Conservation and Resistance Breeding

Ash tree species in North America are under mortal threat from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), now in 35 states and five Canadian provinces. There are ongoing efforts to conserve this native tree species by producing genetically diverse, resistant seedlings suitable for restoring ash on the landscape. Identifying “lingering ash” is a critical component of amplifying these efforts, and this presentation will explain the narrow window of time in which urgent actions are needed to discover and preserve these individuals. Once identified, these trees can be replicated through grafting for further testing. Trees that are shown to have some level of resistance can be used as parents in conservation breeding programs.

Drs. Kathleen Knight and Jennifer Koch of the USDA Forest Service will review EAB and ash tree mortality from an ecological perspective and report on the breeding program and latest results. 

Jonathan Rosenthal of the Ecological Research Institute will share a model training program, based on their results, to find and collect materials critical for breeding resistance into the ash tree population.