SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: September 14, 2017

SNIP: Native ash trees, abundant across North America, are on the brink of extinction as an invasive beetle ravages forests, according to the new red list of threatened species from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The list now includes more than 25,000 species at risk of extinction and the scientists warn that species, such as the American ashes and five African antelopes, that were thought to be safe, are now disappearing faster than they can be counted.

The six most common ash tree species in North America, representing nine billion trees, have entered the red list for the first time, with five assessed as being in the most at-risk category of critically endangered. They are being destroyed by the fast-spreading emerald ash borer beetle, which arrived in Michigan from Asia in the late 1990s in infested shipping pallets.

The beetle has already killed tens of millions of trees and can wipe out a whole forest in six years. Climate change is also helping the alien invader enter new areas that were previously too cold.