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Majestic But Endangered: The Uncertain Future of a Mainstay of Northeastern Forests Will Be the Focus of NYBG’s Saving the American Ash Summit

Posted in Events on October 6, 2017 by Stevenson Swanson

Stevenson Swanson is the Science Media Manager at The New York Botanical Garden.


Photo of a white ash treeFrom anchoring the ecosystems of many North American forests to providing the wood commonly used in baseball bats, the American ash tree is a majestic and important part of this continent’s woodlands. Now, however, it faces a mortal crisis as an invasive beetle spreads from the Upper Midwest into the northeastern United States and Canada, leaving millions of dead ash trees in its wake.

Nearly 100 percent of ashes infested with ash borers die. The threat is so grave that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently added six North American ash species to its widely respected Red List of threatened species. It declared five of the six critically endangered, a category that is one step from extinction.

On Friday, October 13, 2017, The New York Botanical Garden will bring together four experts to discuss the natural and cultural history of the ash and the peril it faces in Saving the American Ash Summit. The summit will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Ross Hall at the Botanical Garden.

In addition to examining the threats to the American ash, the summit will address how homeowners, nature enthusiasts, and stewards of natural areas can work to save these beloved trees.

“There is much that can be done by everyone—land managers, agencies, municipalities, and especially the general public—to help restore or maintain ash as an important component of our forests and parks,” said Jonathan Rosenthal, director of the Ecological Research Institute in Kingston, NY, who is one of the summit speakers.

In fact, a combination of approaches to controlling the ash borer probably offers the best hope for saving American ashes.

“The potential for using integrated techniques to manage emerald ash borer provides hope for reduction of impacts of this threat to ash trees and ash ecosystems,” said Kathleen Knight, Ph.D., a research ecologist for the US Forest Service, who will also be a panelist at the summit.

The Saving the American Ash Summit will be moderated by Brian M. Boom, Ph.D., Vice President for Conservation Strategy at The New York Botanical Garden.

Topics and Speakers:

  • Ash in North American Forest Ecosystems and The Threat of Emerald Ash Borer
    Kathleen Knight, Ph.D., Research Ecologist, Northern Research Station, U.S. Forest Service
  • Sustaining Traditions: The Effects of EAB On Black Ash Basketry
    Kelly Church, black ash basket weaver, Grand Traverse Band Ottawa and Chippewa and Gun Lake Band
  • Conserving Ash Trees in the Northeast: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach
    Daniel Atha, Director of Conservation Outreach, The New York Botanical Garden
  • Monitoring and Managing Ash: A Protocol for Conservation and Mitigation
    Jonathan Rosenthal, M.S., J.D., Director, Ecological Research Institute, Kingston, N.Y.

You can learn more and register at nybg.org/adulted or by calling 718.817.8747.

Saving the American Ash Summit is partially funded by the Sarah K. de Coizart Article TENTH Perpetual Charitable Trust.