A destructive forest pest has a positive impact for tree harvesters

By KBJR News 1

September 17, 2013 Updated Sep 17, 2013 at 8:33 PM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- The single most destructive forest pest in North America is now living in Superior.

The Emerald Ash Borer, which kills trees by feeding on their nutrients, has the capability to take down entire forests, but some tree harvesters say the insect is having a positive impact, at least on their business.

This destructive insect tunnels its way into ashwood and feeds on the nutrients.

"As an industry, we're concerned about any invasive species that could come and affect forest health," said Minnesota Timber Producers spokesman, Ray Higgins.

The larvae hatch inside ash trees and bore through the bark to feed on the nutrients trees use to survive.

The only way to stop the spread is to cut down infected trees, making work for harvesters.

"It actually improves my business because I get more logs to saw," said Paul Schneider.

However, Higgins says its bad news in other areas.

Due to the quarantine the transportation of ash products is restricted to uninfected areas.

Minnesota Mills like Sappi or New Page, which might purchase some wood products from the Superior area, are unable to do that.

"That affects the mills ability to do business, it affects the loggers ability to do business," said Higgins.

Higgins also says the Minnesota Timber Producers Association supports forest health.

"Steps that are reasonable, and that don't limit our ability to do business and to help our economy and make the products that we all need," he said.

Superior currently has about 3,000 ash trees on public land and another 14,000 on private lands.

Elsa Robins