Skip to comments.Beetle scourge goes from bad to worse
Posted on 01/15/2008 6:39:21 AM PST by rellimpank
The beetle infestation that is expected to kill all of Colorado's mature lodgepole forest within five years is moving into Wyoming and the Front Range.
A pine beetle infestation is spreading from the mountains into southern Wyoming and the Front Range, and all of Colorado's mature lodgepole pine forests will be killed within three to five years, state and federal officials said Monday. The bark beetle infestation ravaged 500,000 new acres of forests in Colorado in 2007, bringing the total infestation to 1.5 million acres almost all of state's lodgepole forests according to the latest aerial survey. The infestation has now worked its way north and east, including an increase of more than 1,500 percent in the acreage affected in Boulder and Larimer counties.
"That's a pretty staggering thought," Susan Gray, group leader of Forest Health Management for the U.S. Forest
Service's Rocky Mountain Region, said of the statewide figures that the official news release called a "catastrophic event." "That is going to have an effect on wildlife habitat, watersheds and everything that is dependent on lodgepole pine forests."
(Excerpt) Read more at denverpost.com ...
“The best thing about a tree is what you can do with it after you cut it down.” R.L.
Think of the dynamics of this. If in fact all the pines will be consumed by beetles(and I’ve seen how fast they destroy a tree), this should become self limiting within that geographical area. Kinda like ebola in a static population group/area.
Confidential to lodgepole pines: evolve, dammit. Get some natural defenses going. You’re supposed to be better than we carbon units running around spoiling the planet. Get on with it.
--this is also so much hogwash--I lived in the Colorado mountains from 1960 to 1977 and can assure you that in most places temps of below zero were fairly rare---in fact, I'd challenge anybody to show me an honest -40F reading anywhere in Colorado-ever.
I expected as much.
"Hot Air Cult"
~~Anthropogenic Global Warming ping~~
Nature hates a void. It will correct the void if you let it.
Pine forests ain’t exacly salad bars for wildlife ya know. With the canopy down, all the oaks will take over. Low brush will get sunlight, causing it to grow fast. Elk, deer, and herbivours will populate the area in larger numbers and thrive. One species demise becomes another’s opportunity until it’s their turn to come up with the short straw.
It sure will self correct, no doubt.
However the circumstances that allowed for the expansion of the bark beetle, were weakened forests caused from overgrowth. The symptoms we are experiencing now are due to past policies of the Forest Service in controlling wild fires combined with Clinton politics of “do nothing” forest management (not controlling undergrowth - or thinning trees by logging). The ensuing years brought crowded, overgrown and weak trees that were susceptible to beetle.
The next step in the self-correction will be removal of the dead timber either by rational forest management or wildfire. Either way, It will correct, but there could be a huge loss of property or life in the process.
Ever read Mel Ellis. I like his book “The Land, Alway’s The Land” He’s a true environmentalist, not some grant sponsored hack trying to insulate realestate values from nature.
The lowest temperature in Colorado, -61°, was recorded on February 1, 1985 at Maybell.
Average Temperature Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 98.8 degrees to a low of 36.2 degrees.
—thanks for the reference—
Professor Google told me.
Haven’t read it. I’ll look it up.
Alamosa, CO wasn’t nicknamed “The Nation’s Icebox” for no reason. While rare, -40 was not unheard of in the mountains around the San Luis Valley.
Bark beetles went through our pinon trees like a storm here in Northern New Mexico. I know, because I have cords and cords of it, cut, split, and stacked in my yard.
Elk, deer, and herbivores will populate the area in larger numbers and thrive.
This is good news for hunters in the western states.
The bad news is the beetles won't attack pine trees in "Wilderness Areas" where roads have been closed to preserve the trees.
I wonder what would happen if they discovered that DDT would provide a good defense against the spread of this beetle plague? Would they start producing this chemical again?
Was that Sun Mountain?
The “static area” is North America. These beetles have destroyed a ton of trees in British Columbia. The only hope is a uper-killing frost. I forget the termperature but the larve die somewhere around 20 or 30 below. If it gets that cold and stays there they can be stopped.
They've got a great natural defense for this. Mature trees die, they burn down killing the beetle infestation, the heat reaches the needed temperature to open the resin sealed cones, the seeds drop, and new lodgepoles grow in the newly opened meadows.
The problem is that burns were stopped for decades, and so were the clear-cutting that replaced them. Now, the forests are continuous, with no natural or artificial fire breaks. Therefore, the trees are ALL mature and subject to the beetles.
This was the same cause of the fires that devastated Yellowstone in the 80's.
Was that Sun Mountain?
Yep. Great place, but hit it at the wrong time of year.
Not effective on a forest wide basis, but if you just want to save the trees on your lot, I understand diesel oil kills them by suffocation.
Thanks for the ping.
The DUmmie media is just now discovering this fact.
At least their hair is perfect.
I think you've got it wrong:
The beetles spread faster in dense Forest, lots of reasons but the article cites density as a big factor. Traditional 'wilderness areas' implies no effort to thin out or to remove damaged trees - which is also a factor in fires.
Human access is not a factor in this.
Human policies that kept land 'unspoiled' are a factor.
Two other points:
I remember watching the spread in the Boulder area back in the eighties. You could see it literally from month to month way back then. It's amazing to me that over 20 years were insufficient to develop any countermeasures. And,
I wonder if, after clearing large chunks of wasted Forest, resistant trees (not different pines) could be imported?
I thought Fraser, CO was the Icebox. I was there for a -34 degree night in the late 1980s
I see Fraser is contending for the title now...I left CO many years ago, but in the 60s Alamosa was called the ice box of the nation.
Colorado needs to hire this lady, PhD in studying Beetles: