PEST SET FOR QUARANTINE?

The American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) has urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman and the Department of Agriculture to move swiftly to establish a federal quarantine for the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), and to take all steps necessary to compensate ash tree nursery stock producers located in the quarantine zone as defined by a new federal regulation.

ANLA informed Veneman that the emerald ash borer, which was discovered infesting roughly 2,000 square miles in southeastern Michigan, poses a grave threat to shade tree producers from coast to coast. The pest is from China and other parts of Asia. It likely arrived in Detroit, infesting wood packaging. Unless management options are successfully developed, the pest will eliminate ash trees from production and landscape use. Ash is estimated to be the single most important shade and landscape tree in the northern United States. It is also an economically important forestry species and a valued component of ecosystems across most of the United States.

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ANLA believes that a federal quarantine could set strong and uniform rules for slowing or containing the spread of the pest from southeastern Michigan; ensure adequate safeguards are in place for international trade with Canada, where the pest also has been detected; and facilitate public and private-sector research funding. ANLA also supports compensating a small number of nursery growers trapped in the quarantine area and unable to market their ash nursery stock.

“USDA and the states must mobilize to slow the spread of this devastating pest,” said ANLA President Wayne Mezitt, Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton, Mass. “The affected nursery producers in southeastern Michigan should also be compensated for tree losses, since this pest's introduction results from a failure of USDA's inspection system,” he added.

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