A resident asked the City of Ottawa why healthy young Ash trees were being cut down when they may carry a genetic variant that makes them more resistant to the emerald ash borer (EAB).
With respect to the future of ash trees with the presence of emerald ash borer, in Canada there is some very good work happening within Natural Resources Canada to support some of the research questions around forest response to emerald ash borer (EAB), documenting ash trees that may have survived EAB attack and ash tree seed collection and storage. The City of Ottawa has contributed in-kind to many of these ongoing EAB research projects.
The tree removals that are currently occurring in the park area near Burland and Kempster is not part of these research projects and the trees that have been identified for removal are to ensure public health and safety and to create space for viable trees in order to diversify our tree and forest cover. Tree planting is planned to occur in 2021.
Although City staff have been contributing to many EAB research projects, any tree resistance research is not taking place in Ottawa right now, but there is a Canadian project looking at collecting seeds from possibly resistant ash trees (Ontario and Quebec) and also ensuring proper seed storage. This work is being led out of the Atlantic Forest Centre in Fredericton.
The research that the City of Ottawa has participated in or continue to participate in are:
EAB biocontrol – this is the release of insects that attack EAB. The principal researcher with NRCAN is Krista Ryall based at the Great Lakes Forest Research Centre.
Vegetation response following emerald ash borer in ash dominated stands. The principal researcher with NRCAN is Isabelle Aubin.
Additional information available at