Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Beetle Kill


Since I left for the Ice last October, we hadn't been more than fifty
miles east of home. This morning we took off on a mini-roadtrip
to one of Lynn's favorite places. Brown Sheep Wool in Mitchell,
Nebraska
. Not a long trip, but one that took us to quite different
scenery than we are used to here at home. A large bulk of the
trip took us through the mountains on Interstate 70. We were
shocked by how much beetle kill there has been on the pine
forests that cover much of the mountains.
According to an article in the Denver Post, 500 thousand acres
are being infested by the Pine Beetle each year. Although the
beetles are a natural part of the ecosystem process, the warm
winters and recent droughts have made the problem even worse.
Unfortunately, there's not way to stop the beetles and that areas
full of dead trees are susceptible to fires for the next 20 years.
However, nature has a tendency to recover and eventually new
seedlings will sprout and regenerate the forests. In the meantime,
it's not a pretty sight.

5 comments:

Leah Mraz said...

When we were up in Kelowna, BC this past June the same thing was going on. Lots of bare pines just looking like kindle. Yes, not such a pretty site. :(

carrie said...

The only redeeming thing about beetle kill pine is that the wood can still be used. It's actually creating some jobs in the vail area, and the wood is actually really beautiful. I worked with some on a green building project in carbondale. We used it for baseboards in a new classroom.

Tom said...

Carrie...I'm glad to hear that because I was speculating that all it would be good for was particle board or something similar!

Lori Murray said...

We went through this 10 years ago. The fire danger is still really high, particularly in the spring once the snow melts. But it's totally amazing how fast the little trees shoot up and become tall. The beetles won't kill the little ones because they are to small in diameter to winter over in. Unfortunately fire is actually the best way to clean them out so new growth can get started.

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