Kiss your ash goodbye...

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Will Blozan
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Kiss your ash goodbye...

Post by Will Blozan » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:10 pm


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edfrank
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Re: Kiss your ash goodbye...

Post by edfrank » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:29 pm

Will,

This is terrible news, but I supposed we all knew it was just a matter of time until the Emerald Ash Borer made it to the Smokies.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Kiss your ash goodbye...

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:13 pm

What the hell are we supposed to do? This is getting more depressing the older I get. I despair of seeing an end to the troubles for our wild places.

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mdavie
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Re: Kiss your ash goodbye...

Post by mdavie » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:43 pm

How horrifying. We need to re-find that ash on Gabes Mt. I think I told Tom about Double Gap, I think that's the best stand I've seen.
Hopefully some can be saved, but yet again, keeping a few alive is a poor substitute for a healthy forest.

AAAAAAAAAAGH!

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Kiss your ash goodbye...

Post by Larry Tucei » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:07 pm

Will, all, What a drag! We have alot of Ash in the Deep South I wonder when the Borer will make its way down here. In my lifetime its amazing how many new non native insect pests have invaded our country. Hopefully this can be brought under some kind of control before its to late. I guess I was lucky to visit your Forests and saw the great Hemlocks, Ash, while they were still alive. Whats next? Only time will tell how all these pest have affected our Forests. Larry

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eliahd24
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Re: Kiss your ash goodbye...

Post by eliahd24 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:11 pm

Dammit. Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.

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Jess Riddle
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Re: Kiss your ash goodbye...

Post by Jess Riddle » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:06 pm

Sickening...................................

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Will Blozan
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Re: Kiss your ash goodbye...

Post by Will Blozan » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:51 am

Mike and NTS,

I have given the NPS coordinates of the finer ash specimens as well as locations of ash "groves". I think Jess has submitted some areas as well. The NPS has done a survey of ash resources in the park but I am not aware of their strategy yet.

Yes, Double Gap is one of the finest collections ever seen by NTS in the Smokies, and it was surveyed by the Ash crew. They were impressed and from what I have heard it will be a priority "grove".

I personally am willing to adopt the superlative specimens on Big Branch, Den Branch, Hurricane Creek and Burnt Ridge. Maybe even Double Gap. I'd like to know the NPS response first, though...

Several years ago Jess and I wrote a letter of support to the NPS encouraging proactive measures. Here is the narrative (a bit out of date regarding some facts):

Letter of support to the CCSP Review Committee
Project: Documenting Ash Tree Resources in GRSM

Submitted by Will Blozan, on behalf of the Eastern Native Tree Society
1/9/2007

Members of the Eastern Native Tree Society (ENTS) have been involved in surveys of the forests of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) since 1993. We have come to realize that within the park borders are some of the finest examples of eastern forest types and individual trees currently known. Among these exemplary specimens are the white ash (Fraxinus americana) and the Biltmore ash (Fraxinus americana var. biltmoreana), both reaching record or near-record proportions in GRSM. State champion individuals for white ash can be found in both the North Carolina and Tennessee portions of GRSM.

The tallest known white ash grow in GRSM, with two trees known to exceed 49 meters (160.7 feet). A tall canopy species that certainly contributes to the overall forest biodiversity, white ash’s ecological role in the rare undisturbed forest ecosystems preserved in GRSM is likely not well understood and in need of more study. Due to the relatively high nutrient soils it prefers, ash may be an indicator species or a component of exceptionally diverse ecosystems. Likewise, the loss of this species may disrupt natural successional trajectories and allow for the influx of invasive species, both situations having ramifications on nutrient cycling, species composition, and possibly soil nutrient availability. White ash, with its intermediate shade tolerance and ability to respond to moderate disturbances, may be a critical element in retaining canopy cover and site integrity in cool, mesic forests. Biltmore ash likely occupies a similar niche in the lower elevation cove forests, and green ash on the scarce floodplains in GRSM.

Preserving these forests and continuing to study these ecosystems must become a priority if we wish to learn the ecological importance of Fraxinus in GRSM. This cannot happen without an ash resource to draw upon. Thus, on behalf of the ENTS, we support this effort to gather information about Fraxinus species before the arrival of the emerald ash borer (EAB). Gathering baseline information- arguably the first step towards preserving and managing the ash resources of GRSM- is a commendable proactive effort. The rapidity of mortality from infestations of the EAB necessitates an established and readily implemented management plan. ENTS would be honored to participate in this noble effort.


It is my deepest wish that the reposne to EAB will be more prompt and holistic than that of hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). However, ash rarely forms even remotely pure stands which can complicate it's preservation action. In reality, the complete loss of ash would not have the visual or ecosystem-level devastation that HWA has had, and would likely not even be noticed by the general public. This fact will likely lead other agencies like the USFS to adopt no action at all on their lands, not too much different from their pitiful response to HWA (here locally at least).

Will

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Kiss your ash goodbye...

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:31 am

Will, Damn your writing about the Ash is outstanding. I was wondering if the Forest Service response to the Ash would be slow like with the Hemlock. What a shame! I'm not saying all Forest Managers are not commited to species preservation. But it seems like they don't work fast enough when a problem is found! I don't know how their response can be so slow with pests, disease and so on. To bad they don't have someone like you running the show. To much red tape in our Forest Service I would guess. Anytime a Govt. agency is involved it usually becomes a overcomplicated process. To bad,if it was up to me I'd fire everyone in charge and let the folks who do the work in the Forest Service make the decisions! You wrote that in 07 and here it is 12 Wow! Larry

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Chris
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Re: Kiss your ash goodbye...

Post by Chris » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:51 pm

Sigh :(

Sadly, if the response to HMA has been so bad, and it is a tree obvious to anyone that spends in time in the Smokies, something like ash doesn't stand a chance.

I am just remind of the Aldo Leopold quote
One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.

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