Special Feature


The Regulatory Corner: Forests Under Attack—Firewood Being Tracked? [pdf]

Fulton, H.

State Entomologist, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, Bureau of Plant Industry

Received: 9-VI-2009       Accepted: 11-VI-2009


          Never before in our nation’s history have we seen our forest lands invaded by so many new exotic insect pests. What a list: emerald ash borer (EAB) Agrilus planipennis (Fairmaire); the Asian Longhorned beetle Anoplophora glabripennis (Motchulsky); the European woodwasp Sirex noctilio (Fabricius), the gypsy moth Lymantria dispar (Linnaeus); laurel wilt disease Raffaelea lauricola (Harrington & Fraedrich) spread by the ambrosia beetle Xyleborus glabratus (Eichhoff); thousand cankers disease caused by a fungal complex, Geosmithia sp. and Fusarium solani (Mart.) spread by the walnut twig beetle Pityophthorus juglandis (Blackman); hemlock wooly adelgid Adelges tsugae (Annand.) and the pine shoot beetle, Tomicus piniperda (Linnaeus). Other new exotic diseases not vectored by insects must also be considered, such as sudden oak death, hypoxlon and cytospora.

Firewood movement from infested areas is a major pathway for the movement of many forest pests. Federal officials and states are considering specific restrictions on the movement of firewood to prevent the spread of exotic pests. Movement of firewood in campers and personal vehicles is something hard to enforce and enforcement is even more difficult to fund adequately. Therefore, public outreach and education seem to be the most feasible means of trying to curtail the movement of firewood from infested areas. Posters and educational materials are being posted and made available to the public in general, at campsites, RV parks and public recreational grounds throughout the country where firewood might be moved.

USDA/APHIS/PPQ recently launched a firewood “hot issues” page to provide information on the movement of invasive pests in firewood. Also, a list of some related state websites addressing firewood and invasive pests is shown below.


APHIS Firewood Hot Issues Page: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/hot_issues/invasive_species&firewood/index.shtml
California: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/PDEP/target_pest_disease_profiles/asian_lhb_profile.html
Delaware: http://dda.delaware.gov/forestry/protec.shtml#forest_health_mon
Florida: http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/caps/firewood.html
Iowa: http://www.iowatreepests.com/
Maryland: http://www.mda.state.md.us/plants-pests/forest_pest_mgmt/index.php
Michigan: http://www.michigan.gov/mda/0,1607,7-125-1568_2390_18298-115218--,00.html
Minnesota: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/firewood.htm
Nebraska: http://www.agr.state.ne.us/division/bpi/ent/works_prevent_eab.htm
New York: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html
Ohio: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/plant/eab/eab-index.aspx
Oregon: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/PLANT/IPPM/feature_story_moving_wood.shtml
Pennsylvania: http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/agriculture/cwp/view.asp?a=3&Q=144707
Wisconsin: http://www.datcp.state.wi.us/arm/environment/insects/firewood_restrictions/index.jsp

          Of course, other pathways for the movement of forest pests exist that must be officially controlled. They include wood packing materials, pallets and crating materials, logs (especially those with bark attached), and raw lumber. These are avenues whereby new exotic pests have been and will likely be introduced into the United States. Even with federal importation requirements pests have survived fumigation and heat treatments, making protection of our forestlands and environment a very hot issue.
          To try to stay ahead in the game, trapping and monitoring programs under the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program are conducted in many states to monitor the spread of many of these exotic pests. Traps are set by regulatory officials and cooperators at strategic sites for campers and RV’ers and where wood products are shipped to the United States, such as furniture manufacturing facilities, lumber yards and mills and pallet manufacturers.