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Great Lakes Article:

60,000 ash trees to be cut to halt bug
By Pat Currie
Toronto Star
01/16/04

 

LONDON, Ont.-More than 60,000 ash trees will be destroyed over the next 10 weeks in a last-ditch effort to halt the spread of the emerald ash borer across Ontario.

It will be the largest tree removal operation in Ontario history.

And after being criticized for reacting slowly to the beetle threat, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has stirred further protest by announcing there will be no compensation for land owners with the trees in a 25-kilometre-long, 10-kilometre-wide "ash-free zone" to be cleared between lakes St. Clair and Erie in Chatham-Kent.

The bug has already killed 200,000 trees in and around Windsor after being detected two years ago, it has destroyed more than 1 million trees in Michigan, and it threatens the rest of Ontario's 1 billion ash trees.

Ten thousand trees have already been cut in infected areas in Essex County, said Ken Marchant, a Guelph-based CFIA tree specialist.

Marchant said the Chatham-Kent firebreak could also be extended north as far as the Lambton corridor - an undefined ash-free swath running some 60 kilometres to Sarnia and perhaps another 180 kilometres along the eastern shore of Lake Huron as far north as Southampton.

The corridor contains hundreds of thousands "if not millions" of ash trees.

The cull in Chatham-Kent is expected to begin Jan. 26, to meet the agency's March 31 deadline for tree removal.

"People around here aren't very happy about it," said Tom Mifflin, whose father Clark stands to lose 200 ash trees in his woodlot near Merlin.

"Basically this area is a treeless plain and this is just going to make things worse," Mifflin said.

"We've heard the borer has already been found on Walpole Island and east of the so-called firebreak. If that's true, the firebreak is an exercise in futility," said Merlin-area farmer Blake Vince.

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