WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Now found in 14 states and in Canada, emerald ash borer infestations are taking a major toll on city budgets - but one Purdue University entomologist has introduced a tool that can help cities find the most cost-effective solutions.
"In Indiana alone, ash trees make up at least one-third of all of the street trees planted in cities," said Cliff Sadof, creator of the Emerald Ash Borer Cost Calculator. "Because emerald ash borer (EAB) infestations are fatal to ash trees without costly chemical treatments, many cities are left to cope with tree removal and replacement decisions. The cost calculator is a tool we've created to help cities weigh their options and find the best, most cost-effective solutions for dealing with EAB."
The calculator, found on the Purdue Entomology Web site at http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/treecomputer/index.php, allows forest managers and city arborists to plug in city-specific statistics, which it uses to calculate and provide comparisons of annual and cumulative costs over a 25-year period for any management strategy - including mixtures of treatment, removal and replacement.
In addition, the calculator will allow arborists to compare remaining forest size over a 25-year period for each management strategy, and will generate projected reports of up to three management strategies at a time.
"Emerald ash borer is something that we know is here and we're having to learn to live with it," Sadof said. "By weighing all of the options and planning ahead, cities can be better prepared for the economic hardships an infestation can cause."
To run the EAB Cost Calculator, first-time users will need to create a user name and password, and will have to be able to provide the following information:
* An inventory of the number and size of ash trees
* An estimate of costs for removing and treating trees based on the size of each tree
* An estimate of costs for replacing each ash tree that is removed
Once those values are plugged in, management strategies can be created and tweaked to see which results best benefit individual cities.
The EAB Cost Calculator is free of charge and available to anyone who registers. More information about EAB also is available on the Purdue EAB home page at http://www.entm.purdue.edu/eab/