Black ash (Fraxinus nigra) trees are captivating and elusive -- with corky, furrowed bark, they comprise some of Vermont’s wettest, swampiest, buggiest forests. This tree species has close ties to the Abenaki people of Vermont, who use the splints of black ash for a variety of traditional practices. In 2022, VT UCF embarked on a mission to learn about the complexities of black ash trees in Vermont.
As emerald ash borer (EAB) continues to spread through Vermont’s forests, black ash trees are faced with extinction -- an event with both ecological and cultural implications. Existing studies indicate that black ash trees lack chemical and physical defenses to the nonnative EAB infestation, and all affected black ash will eventually die. The choices of landowners, public lands managers, and curious citizens will help to determine the future narrative of black ash in Vermont. Check out the resources below to learn more.
Get Involved: Black Ash In the Woods
Resources for Municipalities
Many municipal properties in Vermont are home to groves of black ash trees. In the fall of 2022, a group of UVM students dove into the where, why, and how black ash persist in these forests.
View interactive map and explanation of black ash in town forests and explore UVM students’ report detailing black ash management recommendations with a video presentation and PDF report below.
Resources for Landowners
Explore black identification, emerald ash borer management, or join the network of landowners that will allow for a black ash harvest.
Black Ash Network
If you’re a landowner with black ash trees on your property, and you are open to having folks to your property to harvest trees, please fill out the landowner form below.
Additional Landowner Resources
View Vermont Land Trust webinar about managing ash trees on your property (June 2022).
View black ash identification guide and information on emerald ash borer.
Emerald Ash Borer Information
Explore resources for emerald ash borer identification and management.
Listen to episode 6, Losing Our Ash to learn about the cultural and ecological impact.
EAB Infested Area
View current emerald borer infestation map.
Black Ash Project Data
During big rain events or spring run-off, black ash can hold and transpire immense quantities of water. This is an important service to other species that can’t tolerate wet conditions. To study the effects of a dwindling black ash population, Vermont has 18 long-term monitoring plots located in 10 sites across Vermont. Data and stories from the first year of plot establishment and monitoring can be found below.
Data Summary Stories from the Field
Indigenous People of Vermont
Vermont is home to many indigenous people, including the Abenaki. There are currently four state-recognized tribes, including the Elnu Abenaki Tribe, the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe, the Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki, and the Abenaki Nation at Missisquoi. More information about Vermont’s indigenous community can be found below.
- Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs
- Vermont Abenaki Artists Association
- Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation
- Elnu Abenaki Tribe
- Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki: Does not currently maintain a website
- Abenaki Nation at Missisquoi
Questions? E-mail Joanne Garton at Joanne.Garton@vermont.gov or Charlotte (until May 2022) at Charlotte.Cadow@uvm.edu.