Ontario parks and campgrounds could curb the spread of invasive insects by offering cheaper firewood, says a University of Guelph researcher and her group of grad students.

Madhur Anand said her group's mathematical modelling shows dropping the price from $6.75 to $4.25 would encourage campers to leave their own logs at home.

Initially, her group thought that parks would have to offer the firewood for free in order to change the behaviour of campers. 

"They spend so much money on education and on dealing with the aftermath with the infestation … that's what we thought would make the most sense," she said. 

"In fact, when we did the model and we looked at various factors it turns out it doesn't even have to be free, it just needs to be a little bit cheaper than it currently is."


This map shows, in yellow, the areas in Canada with confirmed emerald ash borer populations. (Canadian Food Inspection Agency)

Ontario Parks actively discourages campers from bringing firewood from home, saying it can bring pests like the emerald ash borer to new territories, spreading damage to untouched woodlands.

"Something as simple as bringing your own firewood when you travel to or from your favourite campsite could threaten and destroy thousands, even millions, of trees," warns the Ontario Parks website.

Listen to the full interview with Anand with host Craig Norris of CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition, below.