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Nonprofits' message: Keep firewood close to home

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Jim Urquhart/Reuters

(Read caption) A man cuts firewood at his home in Bountiful, Utah, Dec. 10, 2012. Environmental groups and state governments are urging people to not transport firewood long distances because it may spread insect pests or diseases.

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What munches on wood in Pennsylvania should stay in Pennsylvania. Likewise what burrows in Oregon should stay in Oregon.

Transporting firewood across state lines can spread insects and diseases, thereby wiping out swaths of forests. Because this can cause considerable economic and environmental damage, The Nature Conservancy oversees a "Don’t Move Firewood" website. The site, which gives state-by-state information, encourages people to buy locally harvested wood.

“We absolutely see that the longer there is a presence of a "Don’t Move Firewood" campaign in a state the more the public becomes aware. States without ‘Don’t Move’ just don’t get it,” says Lee Greenwood, coalitions and network manager for The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit group that works around the world to protect ecologically important land and water.

The "Don't Move" site grew from an effort called the Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases, a loose-knit group of organizations and individuals working to keep ecological invaders at bay.

While The Nature Conservancy owns the site, other nonprofit and government organizations are involved. They include the American Forest Foundation, the National Association of State Foresters, the Society of American Foresters, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

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