Issue and Background: The introduction and establishment of non-native invasive forest pests represent a
grave threat to North American forests. If the situation remains unchecked, the rate and extent to which woodinhabiting pests are distributed in the United States–including Louisiana and its neighboring states–will increase significantly. The risk is becoming ever greater of ecological extinction of multiple tree species coupled with billions of dollars in damage to natural ecosystems. The impacts will be felt in the tourism and recreation
sectors, in reduced biodiversity, and in the reduction of potential wood product markets. Wood boring insects are projected to cause hundreds of billions of dollars in damage to urban forests alone if they become established from coast to coast. The problem became most alarming following the discovery in 2002, and the subsequent rapid spread, of the emerald ash borer in the Detroit, Michigan area. Since that time, this insect has been found in nine additional states and now has a range of 1,000 miles. The spread of such pests has been greatly facilitated by the movement within this country of certain wood-based
products. In particular, the unregulated inter-state and intrastate movement of firewood–both commercially and by private citizens–has been a major contributing cause of their ever-widening presence. Most new discoveries of the emerald ash borer have been closely linked to campgrounds or major interstate corridors. This strongly
suggests artificial movement via firewood being loaded into vehicles and transported to campsites–often hundreds of miles away. The unrestricted movement of firewood in this way provides a mechanism for the rapid spread of both established and future invasive pests, particularly woodinhabiting species.
The commercial sale and distribution of firewood also presents a significant problem. It is sold by businesses
ranging in size from large retailers to small convenience stores. Firewood sold commercially in the United States originates in many parts of the country – often hundreds and even thousands of miles from the point of sale. Several foreign countries also export firewood to the United States.
Position: A number of states have already adopted strict regulations on commercial firewood marketing within their borders. The Louisiana Society of American Foresters urges the adoption of such regulations by the Louisiana Legislature. Additionally, it supports restrictions on firewood movement by private citizens in the state into campgrounds on state lands. These controls should be coupled with a strong outreach and educational program to explain the reasons for their enactment.
"FIREWOOD MOVEMENT AND SPREAD OF INVASIVE FOREST PESTS"
A POSITION OF THE LOUISIANA SOCIETY OF AMERICAN FORESTERS