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Introduced plants induce outbreaks of a native pest and facilitate invasion in the plants' native range: Evidence from the emerald ash borer

Yingqiao Dang, Ke Wei, Xiaoyi Wang, Jian J. Duan, David E. Jennings, Therese M. Poland
journal of ecology 2022 v.110 no.3 pp. 593-604
Agrilus planipennis, Russia, forest insects, forests, global change, insect pests, international trade, invasive species, risk, risk assessment, China, North America
Biological invasions are among the most serious threats to native forest ecosystems worldwide due to ever‐increasing international trade and global change. Understanding the invasion processes and ecology of invasive pests in both newly invaded and native habitats is necessary to effectively manage the risks they pose. The emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is one of the most devastating invasive forest insect pests in North America and has also invaded European Russia and parts of Europe. Through synthesizing historical data spanning >100 years and contemporary field observations in China, we examined EAB's distribution, occurrence and outbreak frequency in its native range in relation to historical introductions and plantings of non‐Asian ash trees in China. The frequencies and levels of EAB infestations in China gradually increased from 1900 to 2021 after a time‐lag of 30–50 years following introductions and widespread plantings of non‐Asian ash trees from North America. Increased frequencies of EAB outbreaks following the planting of North American ash trees in China may have increased the risk of EAB invading North America and other novel regions. Synthesis. Our findings demonstrated that planting susceptible non‐native host plants can induce outbreaks of a native insect pest in its native range, which, in turn, may enhance risks of invading novel regions via human‐assisted activities (e.g. international trade). In addition, our findings suggest that lag‐times of several decades between planting susceptible hosts and initial pest outbreaks may pose challenges in predicting the true risk of invading novel regions. Consequently, comprehensive risk assessment for invasive insect pests should consider the role of non‐native plants introduced or planted in the pest's native range.