Emerald ash borer hinders North Shore logging business

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A quarantine put in place in northwest Wisconsin to prevent the spread of emerald ash borer (EAB) could have a major impact on the region's logging industry.

Minnesota Public Radio reports the temporary regulations in Douglas County, Wis. prohibit transporting ash trees through the end of the month.

Officials in Superior confirmed the presence of the invasive beetle in mid-August. The Pine Journal reports EAB hadn't been found north of the Twin Cities in Minnesota or any farther north than Brown and Trempealeau counties in Wisconsin.

Loggers are concerned that their markets, such as paper mills, will stop buying ash in Douglas County, forcing loggers to incur the costs of cutting trees down.

"When you buy a timber sale, before you start cutting, you pay money down, and you have to pay before you cut," logger Max Ericson told MPR. "So you have the expense of having your money tied up in stumpage, tied up in your labor, and fuel for the skidders, and all that to produce that wood, and then it has to lay there for potentially four or five months."

The bigger concern comes when the invasive pest travels across the St. Louis River into Minnesota and more areas are put under quarantine.

Sappi mill in Cloquet one of the biggest markets for wood from Douglas County, has halted its purchase of "biomass"--chips, bark and other logging residue--until they learn how it will be restricted, the Pine Journal said.

A meeting hosted by the Douglas County Forestry Department will be held Monday to discuss the new environment that a quarantine creates for those in the forest industry.

state quarantine in twenty Wisconsin counties restricts residents and businesses from moving any ash firewood, nursery stock, logs or timber out of the quarantine area to prevent the spread of the pest.

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