Since arriving in Detroit in 2002, the emerald ash borer, an iridescent Asian beetle, has destroyed millions of ash trees across the country and cost the wood products industry billions of dollars. One sector of that industry is makers of guitars and other musical instruments, which are often crafted out of ash wood.

The future of the music industry is tied to finding a way to mitigate the harm from this detrimental insect. As the climate warms, such pests will spread more quickly. American Forests is working with researchers at the U.S. Forest Service and Holden Arboretum near Cleveland to improve the resiliency of forests in the eastern United States.

American Forests’ Roots of Rock initiative identifies trees that survived a pest or disease outbreak, extracts their strong genetics and grows more resilient trees with those genetics. New trees have been planted in tree nurseries in Detroit that American Forests and the Forest Service have helped develop on formerly vacant land.