Ritch Nelson, state wildlife biologist for the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service says it’s a problem, but they have ways of controlling it.
“Fire is part of that toolbox, but that isn’t always practical or feasible in every location,” Nelson says. “We do a lot of mechanical removal.”
Along with removal, conservation experts are looking to market the wood.
“Then, instead of a landowner paying a contractor to remove this species and then just put it in a pile and burn it, all of a sudden there becomes an economic value to it,” Nelson says. “(Landowners) pay less for that. You have an industry paying more. You have somebody shipping it down the highway, which creates more employment.”
A more unique approach to preventing the spread of the Eastern Redcedar may come down to genetics, because the tree has male and female plants.
“So, trying to look at ways to eliminate the seed-bearing females from some stands where we may still want cedars, and then try to maintain the male species that won’t spread the seed for use in those areas,” Nelson says.
Opportunities to market the wood as a resource are not as common in Nebraska, according to Nelson. He says the Nebraska Forest Service is working on promoting that.