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Old 03-07-2011, 11:17 PM
 
Location: State of General Disarray
837 posts, read 694,048 times
Reputation: 1337
Pine beetles are endemic to Western forests; they've always been around and always will be.

I see your point, oldtrader, but dispute the notion that the forest "needs harvested"... the forest was there for a heck of a long time before any "harvesting" went on. Beetle kills and fires get rid of unfit trees and are natural parts of a forest's cycle. Nature figures itself out, we just like to think it needs our help.

Researchers believe beetle outbreaks are periodic, generally triggered by drought, which as discussed above weakens trees so they can't defend against the beetles. Since human settlement of the West is a fairly new innovation, we don't have records going back very far. Scientists look at tree rings to determine what's been going on. I don't think there's any reason to believe that the beetles just "showed up" to gall the environmentalists. Warmer temperatures come in to it, too. During long, hot summers the beetles can reproduce more prodigiously. A long, cold winter will kill them off, but we haven't been having severe cold the last few years.

From personal observation in Montana forests, I believe beetles don't care if they're in a recently logged area or not. They'll take what they can get.

So, yeah, the damage is done. Not much we can do at this point, except clean up the mess.
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:38 PM
 
2,850 posts, read 1,680,690 times
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Beetles come in when the forest is dry.

Natural forests are not near as thick with trees as the ones we have. There are several times per acre, with too many thin small trees that soak up the water. Where there was enough water for a natural forest, there is not enough the way they have been allowed to grow. Under logging practices, they would have thinned the trees letting the bigger ones grow, keeping the forest under control without over using the available water.

When the forest is dry, the beetles move in. Also the way the forests have gotten so filled with unnatural undergrowth, that also soaks up the water, making weak trees which are susceptible to beetles.

Indians before the white man, would burn forests a section at a time to make good grazing for deer, and other game animals. They kept them under control, so they do not burn like they do today.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:49 PM
 
Location: State of General Disarray
837 posts, read 694,048 times
Reputation: 1337
Right, so... if forests are not actively thinned, nature will do the job. Low precip + warm temps + trees = beetles.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:15 PM
 
Location: MT/35 yrs full time after 4 yrs part time
1,339 posts, read 1,399,305 times
Reputation: 1664
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtrader View Post
Beetles come in when the forest is dry.

Natural forests are not near as thick with trees as the ones we have. There are several times per acre, with too many thin small trees that soak up the water. Where there was enough water for a natural forest, there is not enough the way they have been allowed to grow. Under logging practices, they would have thinned the trees letting the bigger ones grow, keeping the forest under control without over using the available water.

When the forest is dry, the beetles move in. Also the way the forests have gotten so filled with unnatural undergrowth, that also soaks up the water, making weak trees which are susceptible to beetles.

Indians before the white man, would burn forests a section at a time to make good grazing for deer, and other game animals. They kept them under control, so they do not burn like they do today.
I pretty much agree with your post. It's really just the implementation of "common sense".

46 years ago I lived 3 miles up a canyon ( at 6950') west of Boulder, CO. The infestation of Pine Bark Bettles was at that time, effecting about 20 to 25% of the Ponderosa Pines in this 7 mile long canyon (elevations from 5400 feet to 8500 feet.) I lived there for over 15 yrs and would estimate that about 15% of the infected trees were cut down and burned.

Now, I was back in that canyon for a visit 5 years ago and as far as the "tree density" is concerned.....it looked to me (just my opinion) that it was about the same as it was back in the 1970's. In other words, new younger trees trees have come along and replaced those lost to the bettle-kill... One thing that I did notice was that the amount of "underbrush" on the hill sides was about 50% less than when I lived there. Thus more moisture was available to the roots of the Ponderosa.

(SIDE BAR NOTE TO "OLDTRADER"): I believe in one of your posts, you mentioned Loveland, Co. Let me ask you this question: Is there still a "steak house" on the main drag, named either the "Angus Steakhouse" or possibly "The Black Steer"? It was a privately owned place back in the 1960's; 70's & 80's and served up a very good steak. I ate there with family and friends probably 50 times in that era.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:31 PM
 
2,850 posts, read 1,680,690 times
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It was there last I heard. I ate there a lot in the 70s, and early 80s. Used to come in back where the sign said Rear Of The steer. You probably remember that.
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