Courtesy of Elaine Gambone
It is important to educate people about the dangers of moving firewood. As someone who works with plants and trees, I feel an obligation to get the word out.
Vermont’s forests and shade trees are now threatened by two non-native insects, the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle. The emerald ash borer is a tree killer from Asia that has already killed tens of millions of ash trees in 15 states and two Canadian provinces. In 2008, it was discovered 30 miles from Vermont’s northern border in the Province of Quebec, and it was detected in New York State, for the first time, in 2009.
The Asian longhorned beetle, which kills maple and other hardwood trees, is currently infesting a large area around Worcester MA, within fifty miles of Vermont’s southern border. There are also active Asian longhorned beetle infestations in metropolitan areas around New York City and New Jersey.
It is hard to imagine such a seemingly simple action – moving firewood – can have enormously damaging and expensive consequences. Outbreaks of tree-killing insects and diseases are very difficult- and sometimes impossible – to control. If allowed to escape to forested areas, the Asian longhorned beetle and the emerald ash borer could infest over a third of the trees in Vermont, with enormous consequences to our timber, tourism, and maple industry.