ITHACA, N.Y. - In coordination with timber manufacturer Unalam, Ivy League school Cornell will research and develop methods to reuse wood infested by the emerald ash borer.
"By introducing robotic fabrication technology, researchers will transform irregularly shaped ash lumber into engineered wood products," writes Cornell in a release. The school recently accounced $1.1 million in funding toward various research projects. All research topics are on "high risk" issues.
Other details weren't released. Unalam is a New York-based manufacturer of custom glulam and other wood used in construction.
A native of Asia, emerald ash borers were found in the U.S. and Canada in 2002 and are considered one of the most destructive forest pests in North America, being responsible for millions of dollars in losses from the destruction of ash trees. In Maine alone, the estimated potential damage could be significant as the commercial ash tree value has been put at $320 million.
Some states have quarantines in place, including Maine, where the pest's presence is an increasing problem. Others, like New Hampshire and New York, lifted their ash quarantines in 2018 - saying the restrictions were doing nothing in stopping its spread.
The small metallic-looking beetles lay eggs on ash trees, and the hatching larvae tunnel under the trees’ bark, creating damage that usually kills a tree in as little as three to five years.