By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — What can happen when scientific research and traditional Native American cultural practices combine to combat an environmental threat? When the topic is the destructive emerald ash borer, the results of collaboration may point the way to reducing the spread of the invasive insect that’s decimated hundreds of millions of ash in the Great Lakes region and beyond. The collaboration showed how the traditional practice of submerging black ash logs until they’re ready to use for basket-making can kill borer larvae and prevent adults from emerging. On a large scale, “this control method has limited application” but it’s significant for tribes with a black ash basket-making heritage, said U.S. Forest Service research entomologist Therese Poland, the project leader and lead author of a new study. “This gives the tribes a tool to continue using black ash for basket-making” while scientists investigate potential “landscape-level” strategies to combat the borer, said Poland, who is based in East Lansing.