Oakville’s EAB management program receives international recognition

Forestry professionals from Canada, the United States and Europe were provided with a guided tour of Oakville by forestry staff recently to get an up-close look at the town’s highly regarded EAB management program.

Part of a five-day International Advanced Practitioner Workshop organized by the University of Toronto, the tour provided a unique opportunity for forest health specialists from a variety of countries to learn about best practices in EAB management.

“Oakville has one of the most aggressive EAB management programs in the country,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “We were able to act quickly due to our early detection program and we continue to use best forest management practices to stay on top of EAB. Sharing our experience will help educate others on successful early intervention and effective control of EAB practices worldwide.”

The spread of invasive forest pests such as EAB and Asian Long-Horned Beetle (ALHB) is a priority issue for many municipalities around the world. Often causing little trouble in their native habitats, non-native insects can be fast-spreading and unstable in new environments which have few of the environmental or biological controls which would otherwise keep their numbers in check and limit their potential impact.

Oakville’s site visits showcased the town’s five EAB management subprograms: Canopy Conservation, Canopy Replacement, Hazard Abatement, Quality Assurance, and Community Awareness, and included a stop at Iroquois Shoreline Woods Park where the town has managed the restoration of the woodland once devastated by Oak decline and another serious forest pest called the two-lined chestnut borer.

John McNeil, manager, Forestry Services shared with the group the town’s plan to begin removing dead and dying ash trees from 22 woodlands this year as part of its 10-plus year Woodlands Hazard Abatement program, and cited Iroquois Shoreline Woods as a prime example of how a forest can regrow.

“The town developed a long-term forest management plan to restore the forest through plantings and natural regeneration. Today, anyone would be surprised to learn that only a decade ago, the forest lost 80 per cent of its oak trees,” he said. “Wood debris left on the forest floor after tree removals eventually breaks down, nourishing the soil, and aiding in the woodland’s natural regrowth.”

By following best forest management practices, the Town of Oakville is the first lower-tier municipality in Canada to have all 280 of its woodlands achieve Forest Stewardship Council® certification through the forest certification program of the Eastern Ontario Model Forest.

Workshop organizer, Dr. Sandy Smith says sharing resources can help support the development of management plans in regions currently not affected by, but under threat from EAB.

“The workshop provides an opportunity for forest health professionals from elsewhere to study the biological, administrative and policy issues associated with invasive species management here in the GTA,” she said. “Oakville is clearly a leader in EAB management on this continent and their experience and knowledge is invaluable. We are so grateful to them for being part of this event and sharing their expertise.”

Dr. Smith is former Dean in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto, and currently works in the area of forest health, specializing in invasive species, forest entomology, biological control, and biodiversity.

The five-day workshop also included presentations from forestry specialists in Toronto and a case study of ALHB in Mississauga.

For more information on Oakville’s EAB management program visit the Emerald Ash Borer page. 

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Oakville’s EAB management program receives international recognition