Updated emerald ash borer silviculture guidelines now available

By Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942

The Division of Forestry has completed a revision of the emerald ash borer silviculture guidelines to help foresters prepare for and respond to the arrival of emerald ash borer (EAB) in a forest stand.

Cover page of new guidelines.

The guidelines have been professionally formatted and now contain two appendices (“Checklist For Evaluating Lowland Ash Stands” and “Lowland Reforestation Species Guide”) to help foresters prepare for EAB and rehabilitate/regenerate damaged stands.

To revise the guidelines, a small team of DNR forestry staff worked with a stakeholder advisory committee that represented forest landowners, the forest industry, foresters, local governments and others. The groups considered recent research and silvicultural trials, increased EAB spread, and a changed regulatory framework while revising older guidance. The guidelines text had been available to DNR staff and the public since early 2019.

Recommendations include:

  • Begin managing any Wisconsin stands for EAB as soon as practical, if not already started.
  • Increasing emphasis on stand evaluation prior to making a management decision, while recognizing that it is not practical to convert some lowland stands to non-ash forest cover.
  • Having a species composition (typically less than 20% ash) that would leave a stand adequately stocked and able to meet landowner goals if all remaining ash were harvested or killed by EAB.
  • Consider retaining an ash component for reasons such as wildlife habitat, species diversity, creating growing conditions for non-ash regeneration, reducing invasive plant growth, etc.
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