Certification Program Overview

CERTIFICATION PROGRAM FAQs

  1. The American Firewood Producers and Distributors Association exists for the health and safety of our forests and for the protection of consumers of firewood. The association was created as a result of the concern by industry leaders regarding a variety environmental conditions such as:
    • The country’s forests are increasingly threatened by a host of invasive, exotic tree insects and diseases, many of which are unstoppable killers.
    • Over the past 10-15 years, exotic insects like Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer and hemlock wooly adelgid have killed many millions of trees throughout the United States.
    • Other invasives such as oak wilt, sudden oak death, Sirex wood wasp, brown spruce longhorned beetle are present or of concern.
    • Individual states have native tree species that are all susceptible to potential attack by one or more invasive exotic insect or disease.
    • Costs to Federal, State and local budgets have exceeded $100 million for eradication efforts, tree removals and disposal.
    • Many invasive tree and forest pests are difficult, to impossible, to detect early enough in their infestation to be able to eliminate them or control their spread.
    • History has shown that many invasive forest pests have been spread long distances, inadvertently assisted by humans, through our movement of plants and wood not known to be infested.
    • That transportation of firewood has been shown to be a significant contributor to infestation, as it is frequently moved long-distance by campers and others, with new discoveries of invasive pest infestation subsequently showing up in and around campgrounds.
    • In order to protect indigenous trees and forests, it is essential we work to eradicate invasive, exotic forest pests, and their spread, by all means possible.
    • A direct step we can take is to provide guidance in the manufacturing and distribution of firewood.
    • Many states have developed restrictions on the importation and movement of untreated firewood, source-labeling requirements and established treatment standards pursuant to accepted international and scientific protocols. We support these efforts and seek to help lead the charge by working with state and federal regulators to establish guidelines for the manufacturing of firewood.

  2. What species of firewood are regulated by the AFPDA?
    • All species of trees that are used as firewood will be regulated since dangerous, invasive insects and diseases can be found in, or on, almost every native firewood tree species.

  3. What pests are you worried about?
    • There are many invasive, exotic forest insects and diseases of concern. Some pests and their hosts of particular concern include:
    • Asian longhorned beetle – maples, birches, ash, sycamore, poplar, willow, elm, hackberry, mountain ash, horsechestnut
    •  Emerald ash borer – all ash species (white, black, green)
    • Sirex woodwasp – pines (Scots, red, white, Austrian, pitch)
    • Hemlock wooly adelgid – hemlock
    • Asian gypsy moth – over 500 hosts including oak, basswood, birch, poplar, alder, willow, larch, hemlock, pine, and spruce
    • Light brown apple moth – apple, oaks, pines, poplars, walnut
    • Brown spruce longhorned beetle – spruces
    • Oak wilt – oaks, especially red oak

  4. What airborne organisms are you worried about?
    • In addition to the more well known molds and mildews that may be found on firewood, we are concerned with destroying lesser known and more elusive organisms including phytophthora infestants and Thousand Cankers disease.

  5. What is your definition of “Source” for firewood, in the labeling requirements?
    • – “Source” is defined as the village, town or city, which the firewood producer declares as the source of the firewood.

  6. What are you calling “firewood”?
    • For the purposes of this certification, “firewood” is defined to be “any kindling, logs, chunkwood, boards, timbers or other wood of any tree species cut and split, or not split, into a form and size appropriate for use as fuel.”
    • log-length material is not a factor for the purposes of our certification. Any wood that is used to produce firewood (that is, ‘cut and split, or not split, into a form and size appropriate for use as fuel”) is considered “firewood.”

  7. Is the Federal government involved in AFPDA?
    • The AFPDA is an independent non-profit organization comprised of the leaders of top firewood producers, manufacturers, distributors, equipment suppliers and logistics specialists who are working together to proactively develop self-imposed regulations that allow their industries produce and distribute healthy pest-free firewood that can safely be sold anywhere in the United States.

  8. What is the Federal government doing about insect infestation?
    • USDA APHIS has several different quarantines in place, covering several states that restrict the movement of firewood as well as logs, lumber, wood products and nursery stock of certain tree species as part of various pest quarantines. USDA APHIS’ authority to impose quarantine restrictions concerning treatment and movement of firewood (a commodity) are only imposed in direct conjunction with a specific pest species regulatory action. The Department is working to be proactive and recognize that a wide variety of invasive, exotic forest pests and diseases may be transported to new areas on many different species of wood used as firewood.

  9. Will this allow U.S. Firewood to be sold in Canada?
    • The Canadian government has had a ban in effect for several years on the import of any firewood into that country that has not been heat-treated to their specifications. The top rated specifications of the AFPDA exceed the current Canadian heat treating specifications.

  10. Why does the AFPDA need to exist?
    • Firewood has the potential to spread many destructive, invasive, exotic agents, both known and, as yet, unknown. Confirmed threats to U.S. Forests include: Emerald Ash Borer, Sirex Woodwasp), Asian Long-horned Beetle, European Gypsy Moth, Asian Gypsy Moth, and a number of other wood boring or defoliating insects, plus decay and wood-stain fungi, as well as the pathogens that cause Dutch Elm Disease, Oak Wilt, Sudden Oak Death and Thousand Cankers disease.
    • Firewood product is often stored, unused, for long periods of time, and is handled by persons generally not trained to look for or notice invasive pest signs. Once established in new areas, invasive, exotic forest pests can quickly kill trees in forests, parks, communities and campgrounds.
    • For example, USDA APHIS estimates that 50-100 million ash trees have already been killed by the Emerald Ash Borer throughout North America, primarily in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada. In urban settings, this presents liability concerns and may require significant expenditures (in the millions of dollars) for removal of dead trees. At this time, infestation of an area by emerald ash borer is essentially a death sentence for all ash, as little has been found to protect trees from lethal attack.
    • In addition to the ecological losses, landowners and wood-using industries face millions of dollars in current and future economic losses as ash is a valuable specie for lumber, flooring, cabinets, pallets and Major League baseball bats.
    • Currently, the best preventative and mitigation measures for these threats include restriction on importation into many states, restrictive movement within states, and encouraging use of “local” firewood sources, or, alternatively, verified, “clean” firewood.
    • The AFPDA exists to create a national standard, regulation and certification for the production and distribution of firewood, ensuring that firewood is appropriately managed and clearly labeled to allow retailers and consumers to have confidence about the origins and health of the firewood they are purchasing.

  11. Why isn’t log transport to mills and other wood-using industries also regulated?
    • Log transport to wood-using industries is often already regulated by existing Federal quarantines for certain pests such as Asian Longhorned beetle, Emerald Ash Borer, Gypsy Moth or Pine Shoot Beetle as well as other pests and pathogens previously mentioned.
    • In most cases, the manufacturing processes involved – debarking, sawing, kiln-drying, chipping, pulping, etc. – are adequate to eliminate pests should they be carried on the logs
    • Logs manufactured into other products typically undergo inspection by persons familiar with insect pests, who would be more likely to recognize these problems should they be found and take appropriate steps to eliminate the source

  12. Is “seasoned” firewood an adequate treatment?
    • No, seasoning firewood (storing it cut and piled and letting it air-dry for a period of time) is not a proven way to eliminate potential invasive insects, diseases, pathogens and infestants.
    • Seasoning, or air-drying typically only reduces the moisture content of the firewood to around 19% (from 50% or more when fresh-cut or green). Reducing moisture content alone is not an adequate treatment method to control invasive insects and/or diseases.
    • Scientific studies have shown that some invasive, exotic insects can survive in untreated, cut trees and firewood for over two years and still emerge to infest surrounding forests.
    • It’s also impossible to determine how long firewood has been “seasoned” as there’s no real way to measure or verify

  13. How will customers know the source of firewood they buy?
    • Producers will identify the source of their firewood via a standardized label developed by the AFPDA. This label will on all firewood that meets one of our standards. Click the link to learn more about the AFPDA Certification Programs.

  14. Are wood pellets, bark or mulch covered under the AFPDA Certification?
    • No. Wood pellets, bark and mulch are not part of our certification program . The manufacturing processes involved in producing these commodities (chipping, grinding and/or compressing) are deemed adequate to eliminate any invasive pest that may be in or on the wood. In most invasive forest pest quarantine situations, chipping infested, or host material is an accepted disposal method.

  15. Are Christmas trees covered by the AFPDA Certification Program?
    • No. Christmas trees are not covered under our certification program. Christmas trees have not been found to be a method of transport for these invasive pests and are not considered a risk for the spread of these destructive species.

If you have any additional questions regarding the AFPDA regulations or our certification program email us at: info@afpda.org