Because of the complex nature of defining an invasive and prioritizing the worst threats for all regions of Illinois, the IFA is not yet ready with a formal position on this issue. However, IFA members may find helpful information in our "Invasives" Blog in the Members Only section.
Thousand Canker Disease Quarantine
A member has suggested that the IFA urge Illinois legislators to enact a quarantine of all products containing walnut bark in order to stop the spread of this devastating disease into our state. The board is considering the issue.
Dwindling Forest Landowner Counsel
The support structure for Illinois forest landowners is dwindling. Due to budget cuts, positions unfilled after retirements, and layoffs, the IDNR Division of Forest Resources staff is skeletal (see IDNR Reduction). The IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources staff is also shrinking; and the IDNR Division of Natural Heritage has significant vacancies - spreading existing staff thinly. Further, Illinois Extension Forestry has a single State Extension Forester who has only been given a "Visiting" position, hinting at its temporary nature. This is in contrast to Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin each having multiple (up to 11 in one state) professionals in Extension Forestry. Indeed, the entire University of Illinois Extension Service, whose local offices had promoted landowner enterprises through seminars, has been downsized. RC&Ds, which had staged forestry field days and obtained grants that supported landowner education, have lost USDA funding which had been significant to their existence. Given the state's dire budgetary situation, it is difficult to see how these trends can be reversed.
All of this leaves Illinois forest landowners with fewer educational opportunities, fewer advisors with less time, and long waits for administrative approvals. While the IFA board has taken a stance on one aspect of this issue, the IFA also is attempting to fill some informational gaps through its newsletter, website, email advisories, workshops, and field events. Our partner forestry organizations - ITF, IWC, and NIFA - are attempting to educate landowners as well. Also, by pushing to have the Illinois Forestry Development Council re-established, the IFA hopes that body can bring additional educational resources to the field.