Communicating with Commercial Producers
Cooperation between state agencies and commercial firewood producers is essential for the continued health of our forests. Best management practices are at the core of that cooperation.
Commercial producers of firewood are a large and varied group. They range from large scale producers that have milling and kiln capabilities to smaller vendors who cut firewood for extra income. Their product may be used for structure heating, camping, food preparation, or even the occasional outdoor bonfire. The broad spectrum of uses for commercial firewood means that adoption of BMPs by producers can deliver significant benefits.
Maximize impact of BMPs by first identifying who are your states’ largest firewood producers; this may include groups like timberland owners, tree farms, or lumber mills. Once high-impact partner efforts are underway, incorporate additional partners to promote and normalize use of BMPs, including government forest health and weights and measures personnel , extension agents, many associations (certified foresters and loggers, arborists, landscapers) golf courses, and other local groups .
Opportunities to Promote BMPs
States should list BMPs on their firewood webpage. BMPs should be promoted at professional meetings and trainings for commercial producers. Educational materials emphasizing BMPs should be available both electronically and in hard copy at locations where firewood producers purchase supplies and equipment. States should consider incentivizing use of BMPs through kiln-certification or other firewood Certification Programs. Certifications provide a benefit to the firewood producer – they recognize participants as engaging in sustainable forestry, can increase the available regional markets for the product, and they are perceived as “eco-friendly” and as part of the “green” industry.
Risk Management: Suggested BMPs are not effective replacements for heat treatment. Use of BMPs can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of insects or pathogens in and on firewood.
Regulatory: There may be existing federal, state and local regulations about the transport of logs or cut firewood and BMPs alone may not meet these requirements.
Pesticides: Do not use pesticides on firewood.
Example BMPs for Commercial Producers
- Seek out accurate and timely information about federal, state or local regulations and quarantines concerning the cutting, transporting, and distribution of logs and firewood.
- Select healthy trees to harvest for firewood. Dead or dying trees may be infested with pests or infected with disease. When forest conditions are such that salvage logging of dead or dying trees is desirable, seek out information from state or federal forestry entities to ensure your harvest practices are following the recommendations and requirements of that specific salvage logging operation.
- Chip or mulch trees that are showing clear signs of pest or pathogen infestation or damage, especially when removing trees in urban, suburban, utility, or landscaping settings, rather than using them for firewood production. This process can help reduce the risk of spreading pests and disease in high risk landscapes.
- Where markets allow, invest in a firewood kiln and become a certified kiln with USDA or your state certification agency (usually in the Department of Agriculture). Heat treating firewood to 60˚C (140˚F) for 60 min [or your preferred heat treatment standard] decreases the survival of insects and diseases and may allow your firewood product to cross certain legal boundaries such as federal and state quarantine lines.
- Limit delivery range of untreated firewood to within 50 miles of where the firewood was produced. This will limit the spread of possible pests and disease.
- Seasoning can reduce, but not eliminate, the spread of insects and disease. Firewood needs to be seasoned for a minimum of 1 year. Season firewood in piles away from live trees to reduce risks from pests that lay eggs on firewood, such as gypsy moth and spotted lanternfly.
- De-bark firewood – this may reduce the pests present on the logs and also helps the wood dry faster, which can reduce the survival of some pests.
- Maintain good records on locations and dates of harvest, species harvested, and where your product has been sold. Maintaining records can also assist in customer disputes, or where customers request information about harvest practices.
- Provide receipts to your customers including date of purchase, location of harvest, species purchased, volume purchased, price paid, vendor information, and customer information.
- Educate your customers about pests and diseases that can be contained in firewood. Encourage them to use locally sourced firewood and to not move firewood for recreational purposes. Include BMPs for the consumer for optimal firewood storage.
Best Management Practices
Producers, Distributors, & Vendors