MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minneapolis and St. Paul will lose nearly 60,000 trees because of the destructive emerald ash borer in what arborists say is an environmental catastrophe.

The Minneapolis Park Board plans to remove 5,000 trees a year until all of the city's public ash trees are gone. The board has been removing ash trees whether they show signs of infestation or not because damaged and dead trees could fall and hurt people or property.

More than 8,500 boulevard ash trees have been removed in St. Paul so far. The city is taking down trees so quickly it doesn't have enough funds left to cover immediately pulling stumps and replacing trees.

St. Paul Parks and Recreation director Mike Hahm says the issue affects everyone in the community.