How effective are quarantines in stopping pests like the emerald ash borer?



  1. 0 Votes

    Probably not effective enough. The emerald ash borer is a beetle native to Russia, China and Korea which arrived unwittingly in the United States in 2002 in a shipment of cargo containers and has since wreaked havoc throughout the U.S. northeast. Its toll is staggering: it threatens to wipe out an entire species of ash trees in the United States, over 7.5 billion of them. The U.S. Forest Service instituted a quarantine in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and parts of Maryland and West Virginia, mainly stopping firewood (the main vector of the pests) from crossing state lines. Since the quarantine was enacted in December 2007 the emerald ash borer has continued to spread, appearing in Chicago, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota and numerous locations in Canada. This suggests that the quarantine isn’t working as well as it should, or that it simply isn’t enough. Obviously we have no way of quantifying how fast the beetle would have spread without the quarantine measures. USFS maintains a web site with information on the emerald ash borer, and it publicizes many tips especially about inspecting and not transporting firewood from one place to another. Federally-funded research on how to combat the pests is ongoing.

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