Mar 06, 2023 —
When the emerald ash borer was first discovered in Akwesasne Mohawk territory in 2016, it was a painful blow. Not only are ash trees essential parts of the forest, but they’re also the raw material for the basket-making tradition that’s at the heart of Mohawk culture.
So when scientists in Akwesasne took on how to stop the beetles from devouring all the ash trees, they started by observing how the insects kill a tree.
“They carve these very characteristic feeding galleries, which are like tunnels,” said Jessica Raspitha, land resources program manager for the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s environment division. “Over time, that damage gets so excessive that it cuts off the vascular tissue, which prevents it from transporting the water nutrients through the