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Season 5 | Episode 3

Ash: A Lingering Hope

March 1, 2024

Sometimes foresters in eastern North America may feel as if they are in a Lemony Snicket novel, with chestnut blight, spongy moth, Dutch elm disease, and emerald ash borer creating a continuing series of unfortunate events. Emerald ash borer (EAB) is one of the most recent invasive pests with the potential to eliminate an entire tree species. And foresters have many questions on how to manage EAB-impacted stands and what they can do to help maintain ash trees as a component of our forests. On this episode of SilviCast we talk with two of North America’s leading researchers working on EAB genetics and ecology, Kathleen Knight and Jennifer Koch of the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station in Delaware, Ohio.




Kathleen Knight, Ph.D.

Research Ecologist, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station

Dr. Kathleen Knight is a Research Ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station in Ohio.  Kathleen works closely with forest management professionals to develop and carry out research focused on the ecological impacts of invasive species, forest ecosystem restoration, and tree species restoration.  Her work on emerald ash borer includes studying the effects of EAB on forest ecosystems and ash populations, developing ash genetic conservation techniques, restoration of EAB-impacted ecosystems, and studying surviving ash that may have tolerance to EAB. Kathleen co-leads the American elm restoration and breeding program and her work in this area includes the identification of survivor elms with tolerance to Dutch elm disease, a better understanding of the dynamics of this host-disease system, and testing methods for the use of elm in restoration plantings. She has collaborated with numerous graduate and undergraduate students on research projects.  She directly disseminates research applications through presentations at meetings of forest managers and forest health experts and regular consultations by urban and forest management planning efforts.​​​

Jennifer Koch, Ph.D.

Research Biologist, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station​​​

Jennifer Koch is​ a Research Biologist with the Northern Research Station in Delaware,​ OH. Her research focuses on the genetics of host resistance to invasive insects and pathogens, developing methods to identify, propagate, and breed resistant trees for the restoration of urban and natural forests. Her current focus is on applying these methods to restore self-sustaining populations of EAB-resistant ash trees in North America and expanding capacity for this work through the creation of novel partnership networks​.​

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Episode Show Notes

TreeSnap app: Help Our Nation’s Trees!

​Monitoring and Managing Ash (MaMA): A citizen science-driven program for conservation and mitigation

Great Lakes Basic Forest Health Collaborative​: Serves as a liaison between researchers and federal agencies, conservation groups, and members of the public, providing training and resources to support a common goal of utilizing genetic resistance to ensure sustainability of our forests.

Articles on Dr. Koch’s work with breeding EAB-resistant ash:

Dr. Jennifer Koch Publications:

Dr. Kathleen Knight Publications:



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