INVASIVE SPECIES tHREATENING OHIO'S ECOSYSTEMS, ECONOMY

The Convention on Biological Diversity calls invasive species the second largest threat to the world’s biodiversity following habitat destruction.

“Invasive species don’t bring any predators, parasites or other biological controls, so the population is able to rapidly expand. Then, it becomes a mono-culture, displacing native species.” - Amy Stone, extension educator for Ohio State’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Program.

THE EMERALD ASH BORER

  • This invasive beetle originates from Northeast Asia, and was found in North America in 2002
  • Likely introduced by accident via international shipments of wood-packing materials
  • In its larval stage, the insect preys on ash trees
  • The tiny creatures have killed hundreds of billions of ash trees in the U.S. since its arrival
  • The only option to combat them is to remove the trees or treat them with costly pesticides
“Emerald Ash Borers do their damage as larvae, eating into the bark and burrowing deep into the trunk...In the process, they cut off access to the nutrients and water that the tree needs to survive; it is like severing a human’s network of veins and arteries.”

- Maggie Koerth-Baker, The New York Times

GEOGRAPHIC SPREAD

Top Left shows the U.S. counties where EAB was detected in 2003; Top Right shows the spread of the insect in 2016; Bottom shows current Ohio counties affected by EAB - Data from Ohio Department of Agriculture

ECONOMIC IMPACTS

  • Ash tree-dependent industries, such as logging operations and sawmills, experience a shortage along the supply chain, reducing the amount of goods that could be produced by each industry.
  • Parks and Recreation are impacted due to operating costs for the removal and replacement of dead ash trees.
  • Residential households must spend money to remove dying ash trees in their yards.
  • State and local governments must remove ash trees in public spaces, such as along streets, which diverts funds from other public services.
Emerald Ash Borer-Induced Ash Mortality in the Upper Huron River Watershed, SE Michigan from 2000-2010. Graphic visualized using data from research conducted by Daniel Herms, Chair of the Department of Entomology at The Ohio State University and researcher at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
One of the handful of ash trees that's preserved at Ahlum and Arbor Tree Preservation in Hilliard, Ohio. The trees are regularly treated with insecticides to shield them from EAB. April 15, 2016.
Ash trees at Ahlum and Arbor Tree Preservation in Hilliard, Ohio, are being conserved by a herbicide trunk-injecting process that kills off the EAB and other pests for two years consecutively.

Garlic Mustard

Top left shows states that Garlic Mustard has infected. The bottom photo illustrates counties in Ohio that the pest has affected. Data collected from Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System, a national database launched in 2005 by the University of Georgia that documents the geographical distribution of invasives.
"The plant affects a lot of different layers of the ecosystem. They impact native plants the and of course insects need the plants for food and shelter as other animals do. Those that have specific species that they feed on (i.e. different species of butterfly, beetles, etc.) are significantly impacted."

- Rick Gardner, Natural Areas and Preserves chief botanist for the ODNR (govt. agency) since 2004, working in the botanist for the nature conservancy since 1994.

GARLIC MUSTARD

  • Originated from Europe in the mid 1800s
  • Was introduced intentionally as a cooking and medicinal herb
  • The plant is now scattered throughout wooded and swampy areas across Ohio
  • It's typically found in shaded areas, although it is becoming more common to see in the full sun
  • Garlic Mustard competes and displaces native plants including wildflowers, trees and shrubs
  • The size of the plant determines the preferred control method used to eradicate the pest: hand pulling, cutting, controlled burning and herbicides

ASIAN CARP

  • Asian carp include four species of carp: bighead, silver, grass and black.
  • The fish are native to Europe and Asia, and were first introduced to the U.S. in the early 1970s.
  • Asian carp were intentionally brought to the U.S. to curb fish-pond algae.
  • The biggest threat that Asian Carp pose is completely altering the existing food cycle of aquatic organisms across Ohio.
“Asian Carp are changing the way energy moves up the food web in general by allowing less of it to move up to predatory fish, which are the fish that people tend to value.”

- Eugene Braig, extension educator and director of the Program for Aquatic Ecosystems at The Ohio State University

  • 186 invasive species have been documented in the Great Lakes to date
  • Great Lakes fishery industry alone estimated to be worth $7 billion

The underlying effects of non-native species can be quite drastic: the displacement of native species along with their diminishing habitat, a decline in forest health and potency, the alteration of ecosystem processes, the decline of recreational areas as well as potential impacts on human health. Studies suggest that global warming or the change of weather patterns have further encouraged invasive species to monopolize.

“It takes a lot of effort to really control species. There’s a lot of places that we’ve done a lot of clearing of invasive species...some of our early management plans always mention ‘eradicating,’ but that’s not realistic.”

- Rick Gardner, chief botanist for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Department of Natural Areas and Preserves

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EXPERT SOURCES:

  1. Rick Gardner, Natural Areas and Preserves chief botanist for the ODNR (govt. agency) since 2004, working in the botanist for the nature conservancy since 1994.
  2. Amy Stone, extension educator for Ohio State's Agriculture and Natural Resources Program
  3. Eugene Braig, since January 2012: Program director for aquatic ecosystems’ extension (charged with helping educate the people of the state regarding aquatic issues; serviced to the general public, agencies and municipalities helping folks manage water).
  4. Jim Dunkerley, Plant Health Care (PHC) Division Manager at Ahlum and Arbor Tree Preservation in Hilliard, Ohio.

DATA SOURCES:

  1. Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System
  2. U.S. Forest Service
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Created By
Denise Blough & Whitney Wilson
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