Taylor MoakContributing Writer
February 12, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new manual released by the U.S. Forest Service provides guidance on how best to use the millions of dead and dying urban trees infected by invasive insects in the eastern United States.
The free publication, developed by the Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory and the University of Minnesota Duluth offers insight into the wide variety of products and markets that are available and practical advice for considering the many available options for using insect-killed wood. Uses include lumber, furniture, cabinetry, flooring, and pellets for wood-burning energy facilities.
“This guide is a valuable resource for people on the front lines in our battle with invasive bugs,” said Dr. Jim Reaves, deputy chief of Research and Development for the Forest Service. “Invasive species are killing millions of trees in our forests and neighborhoods, but we can make the best of the wood from these trees while we work to slow the spread of the insects.”
Non-native invasive species are causing significant ecological and economic damage in the eastern United States. Since its discovery in 2002, the emerald ash borer alone has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 13 states, and cost towns, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries tens of millions of dollars.
Urban forests are dynamic ecosystems that provide clean air and water, cool cities and save energy, and strengthen local economies, along with many other benefits.
The reference guide, made possible by a Forest Service grant to the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute, focuses mainly on uses for ash trees removed from urban settings. It is organized into four sections:
Information on agencies that are addressing the issue as well as a list of trade associations that specialize in manufacturing products from wood affected by invasive species.
Information on the basic properties of hardwood species that grow in urban areas and may be affected by invasive species, including scientific and common names, physical and mechanical properties, machining characteristics, and other data.
Market and use options for domestic ash species, including detailed information on production considerations, quality specifications, market opportunities, and key trade associations.
Detailed, practical heat sterilization options for treating firewood and solid wood packaging materials made from infested wood.
For more than 100 years, the Forest Products Laboratory’s work with academia, industry and other government agencies has led to ground-breaking discoveries with great benefit to the public. Additional information on FPL’s research is available at www.fpl.fs.fed.us
The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Forest Service lands contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $27 billion per year.