Invasive Insects Threaten America’s Pastime: But FPL Steps Up to the Plate

What’s next for baseball bats if the emerald ash borer decimates America’s ash forests?

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(Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.)

Smithsonian Magazine recently published an article looking at the challenges baseball bat manufacturers face as the invasive insect continues to spread and kill off ash trees — one of the preferred woods used to make the bats. The emerald ash borer has already killed 50 million trees in North America.

Forest Service research is doing its part to stop the spread of the pest. Here at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), with funding from Major League Baseball (MLB), we are helping find alternative species suitable for bat manufacturing. (Find out what they are in the full article from Smithsonian Magazine.)

The work is a continuation of FPL’s long-term partnership with MLB that has made America’s pastime safer for players and fans alike by reducing the number of shattered bats by more than 50 percent.