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May 25, 2018
The Green Menace

We’ve all watched or read something that contains an iconic fictional villain, it might be The Joker from Batman, Darth Vader from Star Wars or one of the countless others. Now, of course, they are all part of fictional story with an associated superhero counterpart that prevails to save the day in the end. But, what if there was a villain so disruptive, so menacing, that any triumph of heroism would fall short of salvation. A villain which is capable of flying, morphing, and complete destruction.

Surely something which sounds this fictional couldn’t exist in real life, let alone in a small town in little ol’ Vermont, or could it? Well let me introduce to you the ‘green menace’. A culprit whose exterior presents a metallic green exoskeleton and is comparable in size to a grain of rice. Small, but mighty to say the least.

First discovered in the United States in 2002, the emerald ash borer (aka the green menace) has been causing wide spread mortality amongst any ash tree which is rooted in its path. It was first observed in Michigan and has worked its way east, surrounding the State of Vermont in an uncomforting situation. Most say it was a matter of time, not chance before the menace wreaked havoc across the Green Mountain State. Sadly, they were right.

On 2/19/2018 the first ever infestation of emerald ash borer was found in Vermont, by F&W Forestry Services, Inc. making it the 32nd state along with several Canadian provinces which host the destructive, invasive pest. Although this was Vermont’s first confirmed infestation, the field evidence indicated that the beetle has been around for a while, and it’s not just confined to the area in which it was found.

Surely it seems that the nature of the beast will undoubtedly result in a negative impact on Vermont’s ash trees, lumber markets, and our forest as whole, that can’t be denied. Over the coming years we will begin to see many dying and dead ash trees as we drive down roads and hike in the woods. Ash makes up roughly 5-7% of Vermont’s commercial tree species composition so this mortality will be a notable change to the landscape.

The Principle of Causality may be best fitted to decipher of what the future may hold for Vermont’s ash trees. Changes in the world of animals and plants are due to interaction with their conditions of life. Some changes may prove to be beneficial, and ultimately help it to adapt to the environment and survive. But adaptation is never absolute. It always has a relative character and turns into its opposite when a radical change in conditions occurs.

For those who believe that good always triumphs over evil often fall hard when they experience just the opposite. In fact not only has good lost to evil, evil has established a strong foothold and continues to gain ground when it comes the emerald ash borer.