What I can tell you about the emerald ash borer

For the past few months, I’ve been working as an emerald ash borer specialist at the Invasive Species Centre – a not-for-profit located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

ImageAlongside my colleague and former Forest Health Specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, I’ve travelled around Ontario meeting with municipalities, conservation authorities, and local groups in order to share and discuss the science, best practices, and management options around this invasive insect.

Here is a lot of what I’ve learnt about the infamous emerald ash borer that has been labeled as the “most destructive invasive insect in North America”.

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Asian long-horned beetle eradicated from Canada

Note: This post was originally published on April 6, 2013. The current status of Asian long-horned beetle in Canada has since changed.

Yesterday, the Asian long-horned beetle Anoplophora glabripennis (ALB), a highly invasive wood-boring insect from China was finally declared eradicated in Canada by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood. The beetle was last detected in Canada in the Toronto-Vaughn area of Ontario in 2007 (see map below), which fulfills the 5-year Canadian requirement for eradication of an invasive insect with a 1-2 year life cycle.

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Who are the trees in your neighbourhood?

Participants using identification key

Participants using identification key

Tree identification is a cool skill to have even for the fun of it. Like pointing out the constellations, it can be a great way to impress your friends. But even more than that, being able to tell the difference between a black walnut and a green ash can give you a greater appreciation for the urban forest – and how to properly manage it.

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Rain, not urban, but still worthy of a post

Even though much of Malaysia is covered in oil palm plantations, if you go beyond the plantations to the remaining rainforest, you will witness the greatest plant diversity in the world. The country’s rainforests have 4500 tree species alone, which create multi-layered canopies and habitats that support great biodiversity among multiple taxonomic groups.

Crown shyness

Crown shyness

One of the most beautiful images from my time in Malaysia, was a phenomenon called “crown shyness” (left). Where the trees don’t cross or cover each other, (hence the “shyness”) and you’re left with uniform lines of light seeping through the canopy. It kind of looks like the sky is cracking open, similar to the way the ground does after a heavy drought, but completely upside down of course.

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Planting the Seed

source of image: http://www.tdc.ca/treecare.htm

Tree coffin: where trees are planted in concrete with no room for roots to grow

‘Urban forestry’ may sound like an oxymoron and is likely a new term for many. I, myself had only heard of the discipline just over a year ago when I started thinking of forestry as a possible career shift. Before that I would think of forests as remote areas, provincial or federal parks, and very rarely would I see city centres as being part of a forest. Sure, I knew that there were trees along streets, in urban parks, in backyards, and suburbs, but it was less clear why the often sparse cover of urban trees should be referred to as a collective forest.

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