Nation

Scientists: Ash tree species pushed to brink of extinction

NEW YORK — Five prominent species of ash tree in the Eastern United States have been driven to the brink of extinction from years of lethal attack by a beetle, a scientific group says.

Tens of millions of trees in the United States and Canada have already succumbed, and the toll may eventually reach more than 8 billion, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said Thursday.

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Ash trees are a major part of Eastern forests and urban streets, providing yellow and purplish leaves to the bounty of fall colors.

Their timber is used for making furniture and sports equipment like baseball bats and hockey sticks.

The rampage of the emerald ash borer is traced to the late 1990s, when it arrived from Asia in wood used in shipping pallets that showed up in Michigan.

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