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After emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, was discovered in the United States, a classical biological control program was initiated against this destructive pest of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). This biocontrol program began in 2007 after federal regulatory agencies and the state of Michigan approved release of three EAB parasitoid species from China: Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang (Eulophidae), Spathius agrili Yang (Braconidae), and Oobius agrili Zhang and Huang (Encyrtidae). A fourth EAB parasitoid, Spathius galinae Belokobylskij (Braconidae) from Russia, was approved for release in 2015. We review the rationale and ecological premises of the EAB biocontrol program, and then report on progress in North American ash recovery in southern Michigan, where the parasitoids were first released. We also identify challenges to conserving native Fraxinus using biocontrol in the aftermath of the EAB invasion, and provide suggestions for program improvements as EAB spreads throughout North America. We conclude that more work is needed to: (1) evaluate the establishment and impact of biocontrol agents in different climate zones; (2) determine the combined effect of EAB biocontrol and host plant resistance or tolerance on the regeneration of North American ash species; and (3) expand foreign exploration for EAB natural enemies throughout Asia.






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Understanding and Managing Emerald Ash Borer Impacts on Ash Forests

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


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