You don’t have to be a member of Greenpeace to appreciate nature. Trees are appreciated by everyone even if some people don’t realize just how much they do for us. Trees provide us with shade and oxygen. They remove pollutants from the air. Trees can help lower our utility bills by keeping our homes cool. Fruit trees provide us with food and they provide wildlife with homes.
Besides all that, they are really pretty.
But sometimes, our actions, though they may seem innocent and well-intentioned, can have devastating consequences.
Arbor-cide By Camping
There is nothing better than the feeling of packing up the car and taking off for vacation. And for those of us who love to go camping, communing with nature gives us a special feeling of peace and relaxation.
Campers camp because they love nature. The smell of the trees, the fresh, unpolluted breeze, and the crackling of a smoky fire as a freshly caught lake trout sizzles in the pan with mouth-watering anticipation are some of the best reasons for camping.
Unfortunately, this scene could be catalyst to a devastating infestation that could threaten the very trees that campers come out to appreciate. Campers are very self-sufficient people – do-it-yourselfers who rely on their own hands and wits. Camping by its very nature means bringing with you, everything you need to “rough it.” Often, that includes firewood. Firewood can be found for sale on almost any country road making it easy to acquire the fuel needed for cooking and keeping warm.
The Dangers of Firewood
The dangerous thing about firewood, though, is transporting it. Within Ontario, there are very distinct ecological zones. In as little as 100 km, there can be vastly different types of forest, various species of trees, and as a result of that diversity, there are also many varieties of critters that inhabit those ecosystems. Both small mammals and insects call our forests home.
Because of the differences between growth zones, firewood has the potential to contain diseases, insects and other contaminants that may be transported into an area where they are not normally found.
Emerald Ash Borer
It wasn’t that long ago that it was common to see signs along the side of the road warning us not to transport firewood in or out of the area. The government even had firewood disposal areas for firewood that was transported without a permit. All of this was in an effort to control the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. The insect, a native of Asia, somehow found its way into the forests of Southern Ontario. Our native Ash trees had no defense against this non-native insect. The result was the loss of thousands of ash trees, some of which were hundreds of years old. And we will never get those back.
Burn It Where You Buy It
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good campfire. It is how and where we acquire our firewood that is important. No matter where you go camping, there will always be firewood available near by. Whether you pick it up off the ground near your campsite or buy it from a local vendor, it is the word “local” that is important. Purchase your firewood in the same area where you’ll be burning it. And when the camping trip is over, don’t bring leftover firewood home with you.
For more information on firewood and keeping our forests safe and protected,
visit the Don’t Move Firewood website.