Protecting Maine’s Forests from Invasive Species During Vacation Season
Augusta, May 23, 2023 – The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) is taking immediate action to address the critical risk posed by the spread of invasive species through firewood transportation. These destructive pests and diseases significantly threaten Maine’s landscapes, trees, agriculture, forests, wildlife, and overall environment.
As Maine begins vacation and camping season, a key concern must be highlighted: the emergence of adult emerald ash borers from ash trees during summer. These invasive beetles, which destroy trees, can easily spread to new locations through contaminated firewood carried by vacationers and campers.
Although invisible to the naked eye, invasive species can reside within firewood and unknowingly be transported over long distances. Once introduced, these pests and diseases have the potential to devastate our ornamental trees and forest habitats and impact fish, wildlife, and property values, resulting in substantial management costs.
It is important to recognize that even seemingly unblemished and pristine wood can harbor infestations and contribute to the spread of tree-killing pests and diseases. Therefore, immediate action is crucial to prevent the further proliferation of invasive species.
DACF advises everyone to:
Recognize the threat: Firewood that has not been treated and is transported over distances greater than 10 miles poses a significant risk to our trees and forests.
Source firewood locally: While enjoying your time camping or heading up to camp in Maine, prioritize obtaining affordable, locally sourced firewood or explore heat-treated options from reputable in-state vendors. Visit the Firewood Scout website (http://www.firewoodscout.org/) to locate local firewood suppliers.
As part of its commitment to safeguarding Maine’s natural resources, DACF has implemented plant pest quarantines to limit the movement of specific plant materials. However, every individual must play their part in halting or slowing down the spread of invasive species. To learn more about ongoing forestry-related quarantines and invasive threats, please visit https://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/quarantine_information.html.
Together, let’s protect Maine’s fish and wildlife and preserve our forest heritage for future generations.