The invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has spread in Wisconsin - entering five new counties - and entered South Carolina, prompting officials to enact more serious quarantine protocols.
Wisconsin state officials are confirming the presence of the EAB in five new Wisconsin counties: Chippewa, Green Lake, Marinette, Waupaca and Waushara. All of the counties will be quarantined, requiring that firewood and other wood products stay inside quarantined areas. EAB is now in 46 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, covering about two-thirds of the state.
Officials at South Carolina's Clemson University will hold a public hearing September 29 to discuss implementing an emergency statewide quarantine for all affected wood products. The intended quarantine would cover all of South Carolina's 46 counties.
Officials in both states are asking for the public’s help in limiting the movement of firewood.
“Essentially, we’re asking that people ‘burn it where you buy it’ when making campfires,” said Steven Long, assistant director of the department, a state regulatory agency based in Clemson’s Public Service and Agriculture unit. “Carrying firewood from one place to another is one of the primary ways that this insect and other pests can travel and infest new areas.”
EAB threatens all North American ash trees – a population of about 8.7 billion. It’s already killed an estimated 50 million trees.
Efforts to limit EAB’s scope have affected businesses that sell ash trees or wood products, property owners and governments. Economic impacts are high for urban and residential areas due to the treatment and removal costs, and decreased land value associated with dying trees. Costs for managing these trees often fall on homeowners or local districts.
In addition to implementing quarantines, efforts have been made to service logs of dead, infected trees into lumber and other wood products. Using a specialized heating chamber
, researchers at Pennsylvania State University have discovered a way to kill destructive pests, such as the emerald ash border, in wood for pallets and other shipping components.
Ash is known for its staining potential and ability to mimic oak. It has great shock resistance, solid workability, and is low in price. It’s commonly used for tool handles, where toughness is important. The loss of ash from an ecosystem can result in increased numbers of invasive plants, changes in soil nutrients, and effects on species that feed on ash. The loss to an economy can be devastating.
The 8.7 billion ash trees in North America are valued at more than $280 billion. Ash trees are especially abundant in eastern forests, but real diversity is actually in the southwestern U.S., where at least eight of 16 native ash species are present.