Thursday, May 06, 2010

Invasive Species Awareness Month: Firewood Regulations

Source: APHIS News for States, May 2010

Culminating a six month effort, the National Firewood Task Force (NFTF), has released a set of recommendations for State, Tribal and Federal officials that outline potential strategies to mitigate the movement of invasive forest pests on firewood. Firewood movement is viewed by many as a key pathway for the spread of forest pests such as emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle. To help address this threat, the NFTF was formed in October 2009 to develop recommendations on the issue. The Task Force includes representatives of the National Plant Board (NPB), National Association of State Foresters (NASF), U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and APHIS.

To develop the recommendations, the Task Force created three subcommittees to examine the primary areas the group believed needed to be addressed - regulatory activities, voluntary activities, and outreach efforts. Working via weekly conference calls, each subgroup identified key challenges and opportunities and developed recommendations for the Task Force to discuss as a whole. These recommendations were then vetted during a two-day meeting held at APHIS headquarters in Riverdale, Maryland in early January. Following this meeting, several members of the NFTF reviewed the group’s comments and developed a final version. This version is now in the process of being presented at the regional meetings of the NPB and is expected to be presented to the regional meetings of NASF later this spring.

Among the key recommendations listed in the report are the following:


- APHIS should pursue regulations on recordkeeping and labeling for the interstate movement of firewood as soon as possible, while at the same time evaluating possible options for treatment requirements that would be promulgated in a separate regulations.

- States should publish intrastate movement regulations with requirements similar to the Federal regulations for labeling, recordkeeping and treatment as needed. Moving firewood 50 miles or less would be exempt from intrastate regulations provided this does not violate any quarantine that may be in place.

- State, Federal, and private parks, forests and campgrounds should institute policies that encourage campers to use local firewood and to not move firewood out of the local area.


- Adoption of the NFTF’s Best Management Practices should be promoted for Firewood Producers, retailers, and consumers

- Promote adoption of an industry-run national certification program with labeling and recordkeeping requirements based on best management practices for National Producers and retailers

- Increase availability of local or treated firewood for public and private campgrounds


- State and Federal agencies should convene a communications steering committee

- An online hub of firewood outreach materials should be developed and made available to the regulatory community

- The outreach activities identified in the report should be prioritized by the State-Federal communications committee and implemented in order of priority.

- Outreach activities should be oriented around supporting implementation of the voluntary and regulatory efforts identified in the report

It should be noted that several of the recommendations outlined in the report are already underway, including:

- APHIS has developed a BMP document that is accessible to all State and Tribal partners

- APHIS has developed an online database to compile firewood outreach materials and allow States and Tribes to access and rebrand the documents with their contact information

- APHIS is examining the possibility of a regulation for labeling and recordkeeping of firewood

The recommendations are available at:

or via the APHIS firewood Hot Issues Page at:

For more information on the NFTF, please contact Jacob Hegeman at .


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