Firewood regulation, certification, and recommendation report

Many firewood-relevant regulatory changes happened in 2021 across the United States, due in large part to two separate pest related events; the deregulation of emerald ash borer, and a long term regional shift in the Eastern states’ approach to thousand cankers of walnut. With these changes and more at hand, in Fall and Winter 2021-2022 the team at Don’t Move Firewood wrote a comprehensive research and synthesis report of firewood regulations, certification, and outreach statuses, with the goal to provide simple and accurate professional comparative summaries for each major topic area.

The full report, with state and territory appendices, is now available to download here: FirewoodComparisonReport_July2022_re-issue

Multiple webinars will cover the report and its findings.

  • February 23rd 2022: Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Month, Hawaii focus. Recording not available.
  • March 1st, 2022: Emerald Ash Borer University, National focus. Recording available here: Find on EABU page | Watch on YouTube
  • March 4th, 2022 at noon Eastern: National Invasive Species Awareness Week, National focus. Watch on YouTube
  • March 16th, 2022 at 11am Mountain time: Western EAB Cooperator Pre-Meeting Session. Specific focus on western states and emerald ash borer. Watch on YouTube
  • April 2022: Western Plant Board. Recording not available.
  • April 2022: Western Forest Insect Work Conference. Recording not available.

 

Build on the power of birdwatching!

Did you know that 20% of US residents identify themselves as a birdwatcher, bird lover, or birder? That’s a LOT of binocular wielding citizen scientists! Does that include… YOU?

Here at Don’t Move Firewood, we’d like to invite all the birdwatchers that participate in the Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, or just everyday birding adventures, to take a few moments to inspect the trees that their birds depend on for signs of forest pests. The easiest thing to do is to look around for holes in trees- and we’ve made a special handout called the Birdwatcher’s Guide to Holes in Trees for just that purpose. Download the handout, read through it, and familiarize yourself with the three basic types of holes in trees- holes made by typical bird foraging, holes made by birds foraging on invasive insects, and holes made by the invasive insects themselves.

BUT WAIT! Are you a forest health professional?  Multiply your impact by reaching out to your local Audubon Society (or other birdwatching group) representative to get Holes in Trees handouts to each birder that they know! You can either choose to print out physical copies and provide them, or just email the PDF to various birding listservers. You are responsible for contacting and educating your local bird groups- and remember, they are usually volunteers, so please be respectful of their time and desire to help (or a lack thereof!).

Good luck, and keep an eye out for Holes In Trees!

 

Photo of emerald ash borer exit hole and woodpecker foraging hole, credit D. Cappaert

This page was initially published in 2014 as Harness the power of Birdwatchers

Changing of Lymantria dispar name

The Don’t Move Firewood outreach and education materials have included Lymantria dispar* as a pest commonly moved via the firewood pathway since the campaign was launched in 2008. With the summer 2021 announcement of the removal of the old common name from the approved common names list held by the Entomological Society of America (ESA), we acknowledge that all our materials covering this species must be changed. Our outreach staff are working closely with the ESA to select and rapidly roll out a new and better common name.

  • To facilitate an organized approach to this name change, the staff of Don’t Move Firewood have created a Don’t Move Firewood specific Lymantria dispar Name Change Implementation Plan in advance of the new name’s formal announcement. This plan may be updated after the ESA announcement to reflect any important changes or key dates.
  • For more information on the overall name change process, please visit the ESA’s Better Common Names Project page.

*a new common name for Lymantria dispar, spongy moth, is slated to replace the prior name of this insect, gypsy moth, in spring 2022. This change was necessary because the word “gypsy” is an ethnic slur.

NOTE: This post has been edited to reflect new information. It was initially posted in October 2021, and has been updated in January and February 2022.

Top 5 Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week Ideas for 2021

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle that infests and kills ash trees in North America. Right now, the EAB is found across most of the Central and Eastern US, as well as increasingly the Great Plains and Southeastern states. Once a tree has been infested with emerald ash borer for several years, it is very difficult to save that particular tree- but if caught early enough, ash trees in yards, parks, and streets can usually be successfully treated and protected. To help your community successfully find emerald ash borer infestations before they get so severe that they cannot be treated, we need your help!

During Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week (May 23- 29th, 2021) everyone is encouraged to take a few minutes to learn about the signs and symptoms of emerald ash borer infestation on ash trees, so that the infestations can be better managed by local tree professionals and foresters.

Here are our Top Five Resources for Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week!

  1. Check out this short and awesome video on how to identify ash trees and damage from the emerald ash borer: Emerald Ash Borer ID Video
  2. Do you need some more technical handouts? Check out the this comprehensive Resource list here at EmeraldAshBorer.info Publications and Resources
  3. Looking for kid friendly EAB resources like a coloring page or a bug mask? Look through our awesome “For Kids” page! 
  4. Want something quick to download for a social media account? Here’s a fun banner that works well for Facebook, Twitter, and more: 
  5. Or do you just want it all? Take a look at our Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week Toolkit, where we list all the Resources that we think can help you make it a successful week.

If you think you have found signs of emerald ash borer on your ash tree, click here to learn about how to report it in your state.

The best way to slow the spread of emerald ash borer and other forest pests is avoid moving firewood long distances. Instead, buy local firewood, buy heat treated certified firewood, or gather firewood on site when permitted.

 

(image credit for EAB image used in Facebook Advertisement, Spring 2018: Steven Valley, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org Image 5445431)

Firewood as a vector of forest pest dispersal in North America: What do we know, and what do we need to know?

Guest blog by David Coyle, Assistant Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University

There are some astonishingly impactful invasive tree-killing pests present in North American forests. Some of these, like the emerald ash borer, are capable of potentially wiping out entire tree genera- as the damage they create reliably kills members of all the species of Fraxinus (ash). Likewise, the redbay ambrosia beetle (which carries laurel wilt, a nearly-always deadly vascular wilt disease) is capable of killing every species in the family Lauraceae – including avocado and sassafras trees. The Asian longhorned beetle infests trees in at least 12 different genera, including maples, willows, and poplars – some very common and important trees in both natural AND managed or urban areas. Other pests, like the European spongy moth, are hugely damaging on the landscape (both ecologically, and financially) but are thankfully unlikely to cause the extinction of any given species of trees. Collectively, these forest pests cause billions of dollars in damage over time and countless ecological impacts, some of which we may not even know about yet. While all forest pests can spread by their own means across short distances, unfortunately, accidental transport by humans is one of the main ways they move more rapidly, and across larger distances.

And since you’re reading this blog on a firewood website, I’m going to assume you enjoy a good fire. Maybe it’s in your home, for pleasure or heat, maybe it’s in the fire pit outside, maybe it’s at deer camp or at a state park whatever – these fires need wood to burn. Unfortunately, many of the destructive forest pests currently found in North America can (and do) get moved in or on pieces of firewood. Some of them can survive at least 3 years deep in the wood- and some can even infest wood at any time, regardless of how old or seasoned it may be (see the guest blog on Dodds et al 2017, here). To that end, there has been a good bit of research on firewood pests, starting most intensely in the early 2000s when the emerald ash borer was rapidly spreading in North America. Since then, a variety of research on the topic has been completed and published, but no one has really holistically reviewed what is out there, what we know, and what we need to know – until now. This paper, Firewood Transport as a Vector of Forest Pest Dispersal in North America: A Scoping Review, in the Journal of Economic Entomology, led by Angelica Solano, a M.S. student with Drs. Shari Rodriguez and David Coyle of Clemson University, does just that. They reviewed the firewood pest literature from North America to see what we did- and didn’t- know, and found some very eye-opening things.

Did you know that most of the work on pests in firewood has been done in the Great Lakes and Northeastern U.S. regions? Additionally, a handful of studies have been done in the southwestern U.S. and in Canada, but almost none in the Pacific Northwest or Southeast. This is significant because there are plenty of wood-infesting pests in these areas too, and we have very little published science on what’s happening there. Yes, even folks in the South use firewood for heating their homes (it does get cold in higher elevation areas, and in winter) and “ambience” fires are pretty common too – not to mention all the campfires that happen at all the state and national parks for your s’mores, hot dogs, and general enjoyment.

Map of firewood studies research locations

Solano et al 2021, Fig 2. Location and frequency of research locations from the 24 articles used in the review.

The scientific community also doesn’t have a lot of established knowledge on how pest dispersal is affected by the movement of firewood. We know many pests can be moved, or can survive in cut wood, but how does human-mediated movement really affect pest movement at a population level? Likewise, we don’t know nearly enough about what the public knows (or doesn’t know) regarding this issue – which makes it very difficult to craft effective strategies to reach the right people with the right information. . In order to more effectively educate firewood users and make a difference in the spread of forest pests, we need to know how and what people are doing- and why they are doing it. And, unfortunately, there’s a big knowledge gap here.

At the end of the day, we know pests can be moved in firewood. Certainly, which pests we’re talking about will differ based on the location, the type of wood, how it was stored or harvested, and many other factors- but regardless of where you are, this is a possibility. We also know that people’s attitudes and knowledge can impact their decisions to move firewood long distances, and that there are inconsistent rules and regulations across states, regions, and countries. What would really be beneficial is continent-wide consistently held and enforced regulations regarding the movement of firewood, and a more informed public. Everyone knows it is better to lead with a carrot than to rule with a stick, so a focus on educating the public is, to me, the top priority.

So, if you’re reading this, please – enjoy that fire. Eat those hot dogs and marshmallows. But get your firewood locally.

This blog is summary by one of the authors of the study listed here:  Angelica Solano, Shari L Rodriguez, Leigh Greenwood, Kevin J Dodds, David R Coyle, Firewood Transport as a Vector of Forest Pest Dispersal in North America: A Scoping Review, Journal of Economic Entomology, 2021;, toaa278, https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toaa278

 

Federal Deregulation of Emerald Ash Borer

USDA APHIS published the final rule that will remove federal domestic EAB quarantine regulations on December 15th 2020, with the rule to take effect January 14 2021 (read the press release here). This action will generate two key changes that pertain to the movement of potentially EAB infested firewood. The first change is that no directly EAB-connected federal regulation will apply to firewood- however, keep in mind the other federal, state, tribal, and private regulations and rules that apply to firewood will remain. The second change is that the federal structure that allows for the certification of heat-treated firewood in EAB infested areas (compliance agreements) will no longer apply, and therefore certification programs will need to shift to rely on state-based compliance agreements or other types of verification.

To aid in the potential development of state-based firewood regulations and heat treatment certification programs, the National Plant Board proactively developed a comprehensive set of Firewood Guidelines. These guidelines are now available online, and they contain templates, research references, recommendations, and case studies that will help inform adaptive changes over time. You can find the National Plant Board Firewood Guidelines here.

The Don’t Move Firewood campaign is run by The Nature Conservancy to reduce the rate of spread- and thus mitigate the impacts- of forest pests across North America. The campaign is based on the concept that the pathway of firewood should be addressed holistically, and the specific pests that may be in or on firewood are secondary to the idea that firewood itself can pose a threat. The Don’t Move Firewood campaign has always provided outreach materials reflecting the focus on firewood, regardless of if it is from a defined area with a federally regulated pest (such as emerald ash borer, or Asian longhorned beetle) or not (such as goldspotted oak borer, or thousand cankers disease). Due to this focus, Don’t Move Firewood outreach activities after the federal deregulation of emerald ash borer will be largely unchanged- with the exception of updating all materials describing former federal EAB quarantine boundaries. In 2021, all states and provinces on the Firewood Map found on Don’t Move Firewood website will be revised to reflect the changes in the firewood regulation environment.

For more information that pertains to this process, please visit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Carolina finds an Asian longhorned beetle infestation

In late May 2020, an observant resident of Hollywood, SC noticed and reported an unusual black and white spotted beetle near a porch light at their home. That beetle unfortunately turned out to be one of many Asian longhorned beetles infesting trees in the area, and USDA APHIS is now working with the Clemson Department of Plant Industry and Clemson Extension to understand the geographic scope of the infestation, as well as how the beetle is spreading in this coastal South Carolina habitat.
asian longhorned beetle held in persons hand
There are two important things that anyone in the southeastern US can do to help. Report any possible sightings of this beetle, and don’t move any wood or tree products (firewood, chips, branches, yard waste) around the greater Charleston area.

Take a look at the trees around you, and report any insects you might find that look like this beetle- or any potential holes or other damage that might be from the Asian longhorned beetle. The beetles themselves are about 1” to 1.5” long, have a very long black and white striped antenna, and a black glossy body with obvious white spots. Sometimes they look like they have blue-ish feet. Beetles make several different types of damage on trees, including round, ¼” to 3/8” holes and small chewed “divots” on the outside of the tree. Bark may split in some places and the tree may ooze fluid around these areas. Branches will often fall from the tree, as feeding from the larvae weakens the structural integrity of the tree. So far, in this area, damage has been most commonly seen on red maples. More information on the ALB can be found on the Asian longhorned beetle Clemson Extension fact sheet. If you think you see an ALB, please capture the insect or take a photo and contact the Clemson Department of Plant Industry (invasives@clemson.edu or by calling 864-646-2140) or your local Clemson Extension office, which can be found here: https://www.clemson.edu/extension/co/index.html. If you think you have found an ALB outside of South Carolina, please visit the AsianLonghornedBeetle.com Report It form.

red maple with asian longhorned beetle damage

Firewood, yard waste, and other wood and tree products could potentially contain beetles. Don’t take firewood from your backyard along with you when you go camping, fishing, or any activity where you might use firewood. Instead, buy local bundled firewood at or near your destination, or gather firewood on site when you get there (if that is permitted). Take care to observe any local restrictions about yard waste in the area near the newly discovered Asian longhorned beetle infested area in and around Hollywood SC (southwest of Charleston).

protect south carolina forests billboards

Co-authored by David Coyle, Clemson University, and Leigh Greenwood, The Nature Conservancy

 

Don’t Move Firewood Campaign Evaluation 2020

The Nature Conservancy’s Don’t Move Firewood (DMF) educational campaign is the most widely recognized firewood outreach campaign in the USA and Canada. The Nature Conservancy conducts its own nationwide campaign of forest pest and firewood outreach while supporting hundreds of partnering entities in conducting their own efforts. To gain a better understanding of the perception and sentiment of the various methods DMF employs, two online surveys and a series of eleven one-on-one interviews were conducted with a wide variety of partners from June 2019 through March 2020.

The survey and interviews were structured to address; what current (within the past five years) campaign aspects and efforts are viewed positively by stakeholders, where do any negative feelings about the current campaign stem from, and what actions or changes are desired within two future time ranges (one to two years, and within five years).

  • The most common responses for the positive aspects of the current campaign were; the reliable website, engaging and turnkey education materials, and the clear message at the heart of the campaign.
  • The most common responses for what is “not liked” and “not useful” were; insufficient circulation of materials, inadequate awareness of existence of campaign by partners, and excessive variety of choices for outreach.
  • Most recommendations for the immediate (one or two years) were themed on; updating outreach materials with greater intention in partner distribution, updating materials to be pest- specific and include economic impact language, new media production, and better distribution of existing products to new and existing partners. Long-term project suggestions that may become part of the next five years of DMF work include; greater regional engagement in targeted areas and potentially developing an educational curriculum.

The Nature Conservancy manages the DMF campaign as part of their larger goal to protect the forests of North America from the damaging effects of invasive insects and diseases. This goal would not be possible without the continued financial support of USDA APHIS and the US Forest Service to the Forest Health Program of The Nature Conservancy.

Click here to download: Don’t Move Firewood Campaign Evaluation and Report 2020.

Look for Pests During Spring Garden and Backyard Cleanup

BEWARE OF UNWANTED GARDEN AND TREE PESTS DURING SPRING CLEANUP

Tree-killing insects and diseases can be spread when disposing of yard waste

February 20, 2020 – On the first day of spring, the snow is finally gone (if you’re lucky) and it is time to survey the damage and debris winter has left behind in our yards. Homeowners and gardeners nationwide begin to consider the annual task of cleaning up their yards and gardens to prepare for the growing season. This past winter has brought ample snow, rain and wind in most parts of the nation, knocking down branches and even entire trees. Gardeners, landscapers, and anyone working outside this spring should be aware that tree branches, firewood, and cleared brush can harbor invasive insects and diseases, making proper use or disposal critical to preventing the spread of tree-killing pests. Many kinds of pests can emerge as the weather warms, and you don’t want to accidentally carry them to a new home.

“Even experts can’t always detect a couple of pin-head size insect eggs or a few microscopic fungus spores hidden in wood; however, these tiny threats are enough to destroy an entire forest,” said Leigh Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood campaign manager, The Nature Conservancy.  “Disposing of tree debris, brush, and other yard waste either on site or through municipal composting is the best way that homeowners can prevent spreading tree-killing pests as they clean up their yards and gardens this spring.”

Tips for Spring Cleanup:

  • If you don’t want to keep your firewood until next winter, don’t be tempted to take it with you when camping this spring or summer. Instead, you can give it to your next-door neighbor, burn or chip it on site, or dispose of it locally (50 miles is too far, 10 miles or less is best).
  • Hire a tree service or rent a tree chipper to shred fallen trees and branches and brush into mulch for your own garden beds and landscaping projects.
  • If you are pruning trees and shrubs, remember to dispose of wood debris locally.
  • Many areas now offer a yard waste recycling program. Contact your municipal solid waste management department for information specific to your area.
  • Many municipalities also offer a fall and spring “cleanup day” where they will collect seasonal waste. Check if your town participates in a cleanup day!
  • If a yard waste recycling or composting program is not available, and you cannot keep it on site, brush logs, and branches, should be disposed of in a local landfill.
  • Take care to respect all state and local regulations on the movement of firewood and other unprocessed wood – some areas are subject to serious fines for violations. For more information visit our Don’t Move Firewood Regulations Map.
  • During your spring cleanup, if you notice an insect or tree disease you don’t recognize, take a photo or obtain a specimen of it- then look up how to report it on our Report a Pest page.

As the weather warms but the trees are still bare, take inventory of your trees and their health. Are branches shriveled up? Is that damage from a winter storm or perhaps an unwelcome pest? Look for unusual holes, late or damaged leaf buds, or a pattern of dead tips on otherwise healthy branches. Do not hesitate to report anything that looks unusual!

All of these tips and tricks can be used during fall cleanup as well!

 

Previous Press Release from 2013 

 

 

Free Downloads for Tree Check Month 2019

August is Tree Check Month! Everyone is encouraged to take 10 minutes to check their trees for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle. To help you learn about the beetle, or to provide materials for your outreach needs, we’ve rounded up all the best free resources that we could find!

Infographics and Handouts:

Fun Outreach Items for Kids:

Template text to paste into outreach statements:

  • Report findings by calling 1-866-702-9938 or completing an online form at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com
  • (Your organization can help by encouraging the public to check / You can help by checking) trees for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle in August. Look for round exit holes, shallow scars in the bark, sawdust-like material on or around tree, and the beetle itself.

Blogs and News Releases:

Social Media Tips:

Educational Videos:

General Information: