Managing infested, or soon to be infested, woodlots
If emerald ash borer (EAB) is already in your woodlot, or is close to it, the goal is to minimize the impact of the beetle. Ash in the woodlot will decline and die over period of time after EAB arrives. Research shows that 98% of ash trees in forest ecosystems die within six years of the initial EAB attack. However, it is usually best not to remove all of the ash from the woodlot immediately. Overharvesting can have a negative impact on on adjacent trees by suddenly altering growing conditions. As well, invasive plant species in the understory may benefit from the increase in light created by the removal of large amounts of ash and rapidly colonize large areas, outcompeting regenerating tree species in the understorey.
The solution for your woodlot depends on a number of factors including the number, size and distribution of ash in the woodlot, other tree species present, tree regeneration, the presence of invasive species, and local site factors. It is best to seek expert advice for your woodlot if you do not have expertise in forest management. This advice can be obtained by hiring a forestry consultant or professional forester. Depending on where your woodlot is located, advice may also be available from local conservation authorities, woodlot associations, or community foresters.
Finding a forestry consultant
Local professional foresters associations can put you in touch with certified foresters in your province. Forest service directories are also available online for some provinces:
- Ontario Woodlot Association Forest Services Directory
- Federation of Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners Forest Service Directory
Moving ash wood
Emerald ash borer-attacked trees can still have timber value since the insect only damages the outer few centimetres of sapwood. However, in order to minimize the spread of EAB, you may not move ash tree articles from a regulated area to an un-regulated area without the consent of the CFIA. Although within the borders of a regulated area it is legal to move ash wood, this may hasten the spread of EAB because not all areas within a regulated zone are infested. Moving infested wood (e.g. firewood) to these areas may hasten the deterioration of your favourite camping spot or recreational area.