[Adan] The topic for this post was suggested to me last Friday, but I deemed it too depressing for an otherwise happy Friday. But now, apparently, I'm thinking it's okay to depress everyone? Sorry about that!
Jennifer brought this to my attention via a link to this article in the Knoxville News Sentinel. If you'd like to know more about this truly awful threat to black walnut trees, definitely read the article. The KNS is not always a shining beacon of well-edited journalism, but this article gets the job done. I'm informed and scared now. The article mentions a couple of other such tree plagues that have done enormous damage recently. It's frightening. Pretty much any wood whose name you recognize is facing some threat of some sort.
My knee-jerk, head-in-sand reaction is always to think, "We mustn't use any wood that is in any way threatened!" But I have to remind myself that every time I buy a board of walnut, I cast a vote in favor of fighting this pest. It seems heartless, but when all the dust (saw and otherwise) settles we will only see significant research being done to protect trees that have commercial value. This may be through use in wood products, as we do, or as part of a tourist destination, as the hemlocks are in the Smokies, or in some other way. As long as my purchase doesn't cause someone to cut down the very last canker-resistant tree in existence, then it does more good than harm.
Aside from buying (responsibly harvested) wood, you can help in the manner suggested by this URL: http://www.dontmovefirewood.org/ Although there are lots of ways humans help these pests to move around, moving firewood from an infected region to an uninfected one is a biggie. So... don't!