In recent years, the eastern United States has experienced little tree mortality due to insects; nonetheless, the emerald ash borer threatens future composition of the ash genus, which is distributed in the eastern and central United States. Given probable decline of the ash genus due to the emerald ash borer, I assessed recent range dynamics of F. pennsylvanica Marsh. (green ash), F. americana L. (white ash), F. nigra Marsh. (black ash), and Populus deltoides Bartr. ex. Marsh. (eastern cottonwood), one of the species that has been replaced by F. pennsylvanica. I compared current and oldest available USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis surveys. Fraxinus pennsylvanica expanded 32 million ha in range (≥ 0.5% of total species composition, or total number of stems) during approximately a mean difference of 29 years. Moreover, F. pennsylvanica increased 6 million ha where it was present at ≥ 10% of total species composition. Fraxinus americana increased 15 million ha in range but decreased 7.5 million ha where it was present at ≥ 10% of composition. Fraxinus nigra remained stable in range and generally increased in composition. Similarly to F. americana, P. deltoides increased in range 16 million ha but decreased 11 million ha where it was present at ≥ 10% of composition. There were no indications of mortality due to emerald ash borer. Throughout most of their ranges, ashes were a minor species within diverse and dense forests of the eastern United States. The greatest impacts of emerald ash borer should occur in the central United States, where F. pennsylvanica was a major species of riparian woodlands and provides structure to dependent wildlife and plants and where emerald ash borer recently has been discovered.
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