Impact of emerald ash borer on Guelph’s natural areas

Impact of emerald ash borer on Guelph’s natural areas

The City’s Parks Operations and Forestry division has implemented a long-term natural areas monitoring program in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests (OMNRF)—Science and Research Branch, Natural Heritage Information Center (NHIC), and University of Toronto, Faculty of Forestry with the goal of understanding the extent of the emerald ash borer’s (EAB) impact on the health of the woodlands in natural areas.

The plots are also part of an extensive network of vegetation monitoring plots established throughout southern Ontario across a range of spatial scales, from individual properties to broad landscape scales. The City of Guelph has become one of the first municipalities in southern Ontario that has permanently marked sampled plots. Guelph’s inventory is unique, as it has provided a basis to assess EAB impacts at the woodlot scale. This information provides the baseline from which the City will be able to track changes in our forest health over time and can be used to inform Council, management and define planning needs. It is also intended to support research related to urban and other woodlands in southern Ontario.

One hundred and three permanent sampling plots were established during the summer of 2016 and have been staked to allow for future monitoring. Continued monitoring of Guelph’s natural areas is recommended to be completed at five year intervals. The plots will enable the City to monitor how ash tree loss specifically impacts forest structure and composition over time. Continued monitoring of data can also be used to inform adaptive management decisions, such as where tree regeneration or invasive species removal measures are most needed. Ongoing monitoring also helps to detect and understand the impact of ash tree loss on ecological goods and services provided by woodlands, such as the change in carbon sequestration.

Learn more about the impact of EAB on Guelph’s Natural Areas:
Natural Areas Monitoring in the City of Guelph: Emerald Ash Borer impact on Ash populations in natural areas.