Climate change keeps on affecting the environment, and it’s the leading cause of destroying sensitive ecosystems. A new study researched at the University of Waterloo focuses on how a bug called the emerald ash borer has destroyed trees in Waterloo Region and keeps spreading because of the climate change.
According to the study, the bug will spread to other parts of the country in the next years. Biology professor Kim Cuddington, at the University of Waterloo, has created a map that predicts how the bug will spread in the future.
Thunder Bay, Winnipeg and Calgary First to Be Affected
After spreading to Thunder Bay, Winnipeg and Calgary, the bug will move north to Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Edmonton.
Previous predictions wrote that the western parts of Canada will be safe because of the cold weather. However, the recent study shows otherwise.
Because of the climate change, Cuddington says that western Canada has seen a slight increase in temperature. The bug can stay alive under the bark of the trees, where the temperature is warmer than the one outside. Cuddington said in a press release that:
“This should be a wake-up call for how we think about invasive species.”
The bug has been a problem in southern Ontario for the last years, killing millions of ash trees. Cuddington added:
“By the time we see the damage, it’s almost too late.”
The estimates in 2013 on replacing trees that were killed by the bug, showed that the Canadian municipalities would have to pay $2 billion in 30 years to replace the trees. The Grand River Conservation Authority said in 2014 that they would need to spend $8 million to replace the infected trees in the region.
Cuddington’s study points out that the researchers should look more into how climate change boosts the invasive species. Only this way they can find out how to prevent further damage.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.