Biological Invasions

, Volume 12, Issue 7, pp 2013–2023 | Cite as

Impacts of the emerald ash borer (EAB) eradication and tree mortality: potential for a secondary spread of invasive plant species

  • Constance E. Hausman
  • John F. Jaeger
  • Oscar J. Rocha
Original Paper


Since the discovery of the emerald ash borer in 2002, eradication efforts have been implemented in an attempt to eliminate or contain the spread of this invasive beetle. The eradication protocol called for the removal of every ash tree within a 0.8 km radius around an infested tree. In 2005 this study was established to identify environmental changes attributed to the eradication program and measure subsequent shifts in forest community composition and structure. We conducted this study in Ohio and compared areas that received the eradication treatment (ash trees cut down), to areas that were left uncut, (ash still standing). The goal of this project was to identify how the plant community is responding in these two areas. The eradication protocol accelerated the formation and size of gaps within the forest and thus increased the duration and intensity of light penetrating through to the forest floor. In addition, the use of track vehicles for removal of cut trees resulted in significant soil compaction. The resultant plant community had greater species diversity (H′). When specific species composition differences were compared, an increase in the establishment of invasive plant species was detected in areas that received eradication efforts compared to those that did not. Invasive species accounted for 18.7% of the total herbaceous cover in this highly disturbed environment which included Cirsium arvense, Rhamnus cathartica and 2 species of Lonicera. In contrast, invasive species accounted for <1% of the total herbaceous cover in the undisturbed uncut areas.


Emerald ash borer Invasive species Eradication Disturbance Soil compaction Light environment 



The authors would like to thank Barb Andreas, Denny Cooke and two anonymous reviewers for comments and suggestions on a previous version of this manuscript. We thank Tim Gallaher, Tim Schetter, Marty Overholt, Bob Jacksy and the rest of the Toledo Area Metropark staff and volunteers for their support and assistance in the field. We also thank Brendan Morgan, Mike Monfredi, Maureen Drinkard, Justin Montemarano, Dylan Stover and Wade Schock for their field support and assistance throughout this project. This project was financially supported with funding from Art and Margaret Herrick Research Grants of the Department of Biological Sciences at Kent State University (KSU), Ohio Biological Survey, Metropark District of the Toledo Area, and the KSU Graduate Student Senate.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constance E. Hausman
    • 1
  • John F. Jaeger
    • 2
  • Oscar J. Rocha
    • 1
  1. 1.Kent State UniversityKentUSA
  2. 2.Metropark District of the Toledo AreaToledoUSA

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