How does the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) affect ecosystem services and biodiversity components in invaded areas?
Environmental risk assessment (ERA) is an important component of risk analysis for plant pests and invasive alien species (IAS), and a standardized and consistent methodology has recently been developed for evaluating their impact on ecosystem services and biodiversity. This paper presents the application of this innovative methodology for ERA to Agrilus planipennis, the emerald ash borer, which causes significant mortality to Fraxinus (ash) species in forests and urban areas of North America (here: USA and Canada, excluding Mexico) and Russia. The methodology follows a retrospective analysis and summarizes information and observations in invaded areas in North America and Russia. Uncertainty distributions were elicited to define quantitatively a general pattern of the environmental impact in terms of reduction in ecosystem provisioning, supporting and regulating services, and biodiversity components. The environmental impacts of A. planipennis are time- and context-dependent, therefore two time horizons of 5 and 20 years after introduction and two ecosystems (urban and forest) were considered. This case study shows that the quantitative assessment of environmental impacts for IAS is both possible and helpful for decision-makers and risk managers who have to balance control costs against potential impacts of IAS.