County scores victory in fight vs emerald ash borer
There’s good news for southern Ontario’s largest forested region in the fight against emerald ash borer, an exotic invader pest from Asia that has already destroyed millions of ash trees in the U.S. and southwestern Ontario. Woodlot officials in Norfolk County, the Forest Capital of Canada, have been lobbying hard to stop the Canadian Food Inspection Agency from lumping the county in with one giant wood products quarantine area encompassing much of southern Ontario. The quarantine area would have allowed wood products to move freely within the zone, potentially spreading infestations of the pest into Norfolk County which has managed to contain an outbreak discovered two years ago. No new outbreaks have been discovered. Last week the CFIA agreed to preserve Norfolk’s own special quarantine.
Officials have long feared that a major infestation in Norfolk would devastate Ontario’s last great forested southern region, located about 90 minutes south of Toronto. By continuing to maintain Norfolk County as its own quarantine area, it means Norfolk lumber mills will not be able to process wood products from outside the county, thereby limiting the risk of introducing more emerald ash borers. The ash borer is believed to have been brought to Norfolk by campers bringing in firewood.
The ash borer has been spreading across Ontario. It is now present in Hamilton, Durham Region, Ottawa, York Region and Halton Region. It has also been found in Sault Ste. Marie, another potential worrisome outbreak because of the proximity to vast tracts of forests.