This project is based on applying a solid solution to the unstoppable and very destructive emerald ash borer. This insect has made its way from Ontario and Michigan. It originated from Asia and was first introduced by accident in the U.S. The insect does not have any natural predator and all ash trees are susceptible to its appetite. The larvae feast on the inner part of the bark, cutting the flow of nutrients to the upper canopy effectively killing the tree. The trees then pose a grave danger to their surroundings as they become brittle and fall easily. Special care must then be taken to remove the tree and most often time’s traditional ways such as rigging while climbing are strongly discouraged because of the brittleness of the infected tree. Other methods such as cranes or aerial lifts must be considered.
In response to this devastating news, Anura Tree Care wants to develop project Emerald into a sustainable way to replant trees to cope with the decimation of our urban forest. Essentially, the project would consist of planting a variety of trees native and well adapted to the regional environment. This would eliminate the severity of further outbreaks by adding diversity and reducing the monoculture approach of the past which creates more problems for our future.
This is what can be observed when considering the implications. We will lose more than 400 000 ash trees within the next 10 to 15 years; this will be a huge monetary loss for the city of Winnipeg and its homeowners. Research has shown that the best approach would be to address the issue at the root by replanting a diversity of native and well adapted trees. Even if this brings trees that are less desirable aesthetically than others, it’s worth it for the sustainable and balanced future of our urban forest. This eliminates massive outbreaks and if one species is affected by a disease or voracious insect, the effects will be minimal and our trees will thrive. Let’s not forget the amount of money that this can save the city and its dwellers in the long run. Instead of dealing with excessive amounts of dead and dying trees needing to be removed due to liability reasons, we will be able to focus on the pruning, maintenance and planting of our landscape.
The next step would be to reduce the amount of waste that this insect will create. This would be addressed by reintegrating the lumber into the market place by either transforming into valuable products or using it to produce food such as gourmet mushrooms. Most of the trees that are cut down are chipped which is a good approach for mulching but not if you have massive amounts of lumber that could be used more efficiently. Branches should be mulched, not entire trees that have multiple applications if milled properly. We will reintegrate lumber by first de-barking all infected wood, effectively eliminating the possibility of pest dispersal while providing workable material.
Our goal is to eliminate the problem by dealing with it at the root. Patience and hard work will bring stable and lasting improvements to our urban forest and surrounding areas.