Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Firewood taken to camp sites can infect local timber with insects and other problems

GREENTIPS - Going Camping? Don't Bring Firewood (8/08)‏
From: Greentips - Union of Concerned Scientists (greentips@ucsaction.org)
Sent: Tue 8/19/08 10:28 AM

Going Camping? Don't Bring Firewood
August 2008
Read this issue of Greentips online

Did you know that by transporting firewood you may unintentionally spread invasive insects and diseases that can destroy trees and reshape entire forests? State and federal quarantines attempt to prevent such damage by prohibiting firewood transport into or out of certain areas, or limiting transport to a specified radius.

Examples of invasive species that can travel in firewood include:

The emerald ash borer, a beetle from Asia that kills American ash trees within one to four years of infestation. It is spreading throughout the Midwest and some southern and mid-Atlantic states, but has also shown up at campgrounds outside of these regions.

The Asian longhorned beetle, whose larvae kill mature trees by feeding on the heartwood and inhibiting the trees’ vascular system. It has been found in Illinois, New Jersey, and New York, and poses a tremendous threat if it spreads.

Sirex noctilio, a wood-boring wasp that can kill trees (mainly pine) in a matter of months by injecting a fungus into the wood to feed its larvae. An adult wasp can carry the fungus as far as 100 miles. It has been found in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Sudden oak death, a forest disease caused by the fungus Phytophthora ramorum, which has affected several tree species in California and Oregon.
While each of these infestations is currently limited to specific regions, this is a national problem. Therefore, in addition to following whatever quarantines or regulations are in place, be sure to adopt the practices listed below when using firewood. Because the pests described here can survive cold temperatures, these tips apply throughout the year:

Purchase locally harvested firewood at your destination rather than bringing any with you. This has the added benefits of saving you money through increased fuel economy and reducing the amount of pollution generated in delivering firewood to retail outlets.

If you must transport firewood look for a U.S. Department of Agriculture label that certifies the wood is safe to move.

Lumber that has been processed for building material (“two-by-fours,” for example) is safe to move and burn because the bark has been removed and the wood has been dried. Lumber that has been stored outside, however, or wooden packing materials such as pallets, skids, or crates may harbor pests and should not be transported. Pressure-treated wood and particleboard should also be avoided because they can release harmful fumes when burned.

If you have already transported firewood that does not meet these criteria, burn it as soon as possible.

Let others know about this issue and encourage them to sign our pledge to avoid transporting firewood (see the related links).
Related Links

Don’t Move Firewood Campaign

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources—Firewood Facts, Rules & Advice

Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases

Union of Concerned Scientists—Firewood Pledge

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