The West Virginia Friends of Firewood Network: Engaging with and exploring the practices of firewood producers
Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Wood Science and Technology
David W. McGill
Kathryn A. Gazal
Ben D. Spong
Firewood is the oldest source of energy for cooking and home heating and remains a primary heating source for half of the world's population, yet the industry remains relatively undocumented and immature both in developing and technologically advanced countries. Firewood is an environmentally friendly and renewable resource that is becoming popular once again in U.S. homes, 2.5 million of which utilize it as a primary heating source. However, firewood is also a proven vector for invasive insects and pathogens that are threatening the health of U.S. forests. In order to address the increasing trend of firewood use and prevent further spread of these invasive species, we need to ensure that firewood producers, who are among the first individuals to lay their hands on this raw wood product, are fully educated and making the right decisions regarding the harvest, transport and sale of firewood. Therefore, the objectives of this project were to create a database of West Virginia firewood producers and conduct a statewide two-part survey in order to learn more about their business, safety and wood hygiene practices. It was found that 51% have been in business less than five years, and 56% entered the industry because they had some form of wood residue to dispose of; another 32% saw the opportunity for supplemental income. Seventy-six percent view firewood production as a hobby, but 50% are willing to attend classes in order to attain a Community Firewood Dealer certification. The average length of seasoning is 8.4 months and the average delivery radius of respondents is 29.6 miles, although 21% travel further than 50 miles to deliver. This has implications for the movement of invasive species.
Basham, Elizabeth, "The West Virginia Friends of Firewood Network: Engaging with and exploring the practices of firewood producers" (2013). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 164.