Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa DeChano

Second Advisor

Dr. James Biles

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles J. Emerson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


More than 8 million ash trees in southeast Michigan have been killed by an infestation of the invasive insect species emerald ash borer (EAB). Since its identification in July 2002, EAB has been found in Ontario (Canada), Ohio, Indiana, and across Michigan. To date, EAB research has concentrated on the entomological classification and no systematic prediction of the pest's diffusion has been made.

This research presents a predictive model for the spread of EAB across the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Limited data on ash tree population distribution, ·. infestation distribution, and the dispersal rate of the emerald ash borer required a unique methodology. A dynamic systems model was developed to mimic the spread of the insect infestation. The model was built using the STELLA software in a three-step process: first, a model of the infestation in Wayne County, then a model of the first six counties infested, and finally the full Lower Peninsula. The predictive model shows that by 2019 every county in the Lower Peninsula will have active EAB infestations. The Lower Peninsula's geographic isolation by the Great Lakes on three sides may allow protection of North America's ash resources, only if the State of Michigan can direct efforts to preventing the spread of EAB beyond its borders.

Included in

Geography Commons