Progress in slowing the Mountain Pine Beetle in the Black Hill – What Works

Here is testimony to some effective steps that can be taken to reduce the impact of Mountain Pine Beetles. This is an example of what sound forest management based on a fundamental scientific principle from plant physiology can do to improve our forests. That principle is that stand density impacts tree vigor/health which impacts the susceptibility of trees to insects and disease. Warmer temperatures and drought only make the need to apply this principle more critical. Contrary to the opinion of some on this blog site, Sound Science Based Forest Management can improve the forest ecosystem and all of the living components of the ecosystem (both endangered and not). It is a repeatedly proven fact explained by unquestionable science. Ignoring this information by excluding sound forest management is a very large part of why our national forests are being eaten up and burning up at an exponentially increasing rate in the last two decades since national forest harvests were cut by 80% out of fear and viewshed greed.

Prevention – Thinning

Control – “Cut-and-Chunk” – a variation of the process used very effectively in the south to stop Southern Pine Beetle hot spots before they break out. It requires frequent aerial observation to catch hot spots when they are small and then aggressively get the infested timber on the ground ASAP before the beetles can spread to the surrounding trees.

Key observations include: “Other than the tree-thinning, Weutke said a “cut-and-chunk” approach has helped stem the beetle infestation, especially at Custer State Park. Infested trees are cut into about two-foot lengths, which cause them to dry out and starve the beetles.

“These initial signs of growth of the population tapering are hopeful,” Wuetke said. But “it’s a lot like taking antibiotics. If you stop now, it can come back in spades.””

47 Comments

  1. Sharon, this isn’t intended for posting. I don’t have an address to send directly.

    Subject: Re: Wildfire Funding: NY Times

    Glenn, Are you talking about the Forest Service and Resource People that attend Yuba Fire Safe? I would think that most of them are Hatched. Subject to Hatch Act and similar restraints on what they can say in public. Internal communications in those Agencies seems to be slow to nonexistent. I doubt if any of the Yuba Council attendees are high enough on the food chain to be involved in budget. Possibly two levels up in the chain of command. The level of participation in budgeting is more along the lines of frustration rather than fulfillment.

    The last appropriation from Congress was an omnibus bill. The last proposed budget for Ag, Interior and EPA talked about more funding than the president proposed. I don’t think that appropriation passed. I think what was appropriated was more like a continuing resolution. Business as usual.The President probably has Executive power hinted at in the State of the Union Speech. I don’t think any of the money talked about in the Healthy Forest Act was ever appropriated.

    I say that because the fire blogs from other states is much along how to survive hand to mouth. And how to react to fire, not so much in carrying out plans tor reduce fire. Or even preparing plans to reduce fire.

    A search for CWPP returns maybe ten hits. A tribal council in the Mattole/Klamath watershed, BIA come counties in Colorado.

    Who is the California State point of contact for blessing the CWPPs?

    Allowing FEMA to spend money over and above appropriations repeats the mistake of Hurricane Betsy. The Federal government should not be insurer of last resort. That weakens the market force of the Insurance market. People will continue to burn down houses to eat roast pig as long as some one else is paying to rebuild the houses. People will continue to build levees to standards that assure destruction. People will continue to build house in the forest with construction standards intended for the city.

    RICHARD BOYD
    dickboyd@aol.com

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Glenn Nader
    To: RICHARD BOYD ; mbeninger
    Sent: Sun, Feb 23, 2014 8:37 pm
    Subject: RE: Wildfire Funding: NY Times

    #AOLMsgPart_1_b1a12ccf-99a0-4926-876e-2edc8261756b td{color: black;} .aolReplacedBody #AOLMsgPart_1_b356da7f-7e39-4f49-a4ab-a2d967b89a0e td{color: black;} .aolReplacedBody .aolReplacedBody P { MARGIN-TOP: 0px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0px }

    Richard,

    This is a good thing to happen for Forest Service and BLM as they have taken from grant funds in the past years, which does not make sense to take from prevention to deal with supression costs. The Natonal Fire plan funds are ramping down and the new direction that the National agencies are working on is Fire Adaped Communities (FAC).

    We will wait to see if the action is pasted before we focus the members on it. Usually both BLM and Forest Service members of the Council report to us when Congress and the President take actions that could impact Yuba County foothills and we consider taking some action.

    Thanks,

    Glenn

    Glenn Nader

    Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

    University of California

    Cooperative Extension

    142A Garden Hwy.

    Yuba City, Ca. 95991

    Phone 530.822.7515

    ganader@ucdavis.edu

    ——————————————————————————–

    From: RICHARD BOYD [dickboyd@aol.com]
    Sent: Saturday, February 22, 2014 8:44 PM
    To: mbeninger@afmllc.com; Glenn Nader
    Subject: Wildfire Funding: NY Times

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/us/obama-to-propose-shift-in-wildfire-funding.html?hp&_r=0

    Please consider posting this to members of the Yuba Fire Safe Council who may have an interest in funding.

    Please note that the basis Is climate change. Not man-made climate change. Just climate change. Reason for change not identified. Note the claim for bi-partisan support. Note the comment about carbon and green house gases appears to be a media inserted comment to tickle the Tea Party.

    RICHARD BOYD
    dickboyd@aol.com

  2. Going unmentioned in the author’s description of the elephant by fondling its tail is that deer and other ungulates have been nearly wiped out by over hunting so aspen is returning to the upper Limestone. Custer State Park is a joke perpetrated on the people of South Dakota by Republicans attempting to cover up decades of forest policy failures.

    As has been noted here before the FS does what it wants because there aren’t enough litigators to sue.

  3. “it’s a lot like taking antibiotics. If you stop now, it can come back in spades.”

    This treatment may make economic sense for private lands if there is a sufficient financial return on the investment. I don’t think this kind of commitment necessarily translates into a fiscally responsible approach to public land management.

    In the Black Hills, you have to wonder if it’s worth spending a lot of tax dollars, when, “Typical outbreaks last for five to 16 years, but the current outbreak started 18 years ago in 1996.”

  4. “what sound forest management based on a fundamental scientific principle from plant physiology can do to improve our forests. That principle is that stand density impacts tree vigor/health which impacts the susceptibility of trees to insects and disease.”

    Like many so-called scientific principles, this one is overly simplistic. Effects of host tree vigor are not necessarily consistent for different herbivorous insects or plant pathogens. Some favor less vigorous hosts, others favor faster-growing trees. Sometimes more vigorous trees, even if more readily attacked, can recover better. It varies, so over-generalization can lead to poor management.

    Lots of scientific literature out there, here’s one pretty good one for bugs: (from Price (1991), available at http://www.jstor.org/stable/3545270?seq=2) “…ample evidence that many herbivores attacked young and vigorous plants more frequently than old and mature plants. For example, foresters were familiar with many cases of damaging attacks on young, open grown trees (e.g. Keen 1938, Craighead 1950). Remarkably, no hypothesis was generated as an alternative to those above that advocated at least a dichotomy in nature, or more probably a continuum, from herbivores that attack stressed plants most commonly to herbivores that attack the most vigorous plants most frequently. More recently, several disparate avenues of research, discussed later, have converged to illustrate the importance of rapidly growing, vigorous plants to many herbivore species…”

    And one for plant pathogens, where again, over-generalization can be dangerous. “Necrotrophic pathogens are often more damaging on poorly growing than on vigorous hosts, while the opposite is the case for biotrophs.” (Keane & Kerr, Factors affecting disease development, http://www.appsnet.org/Publications/Brown_Ogle/18%20Disease%20development%20%28PJK%26AK%29.pdf)

    Biotrophs of importance in the PNW (and elsewhere) of course include the rusts (e.g., WPBR on western white pine, western gall rust on lodgepole and others) and different species of dwarf mistletoe. For example, “The impacts of rusts are believed to be the greatest on the most vigorous trees. Since rusts are obligate parasites, if conditions are good for tree growth they are also good for rust growth. Lower branches are the most susceptible infection sites and infection rates decline rapidly following crown closure, when lower branches are killed due to suppression. Crown closure also reduces the light available to the alternate host species.” from: The Pine Stem Rust Management Guidebook, https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/legsregs/fpc/fpcguide/pinestem/pine1.htm.

    For dwarf mistletoes, it can work both ways: “Host vigor has mixed effects. Dwarf mistletoe plants on vigorous hosts, especially in open stands, grow larger and produce more seed than those on less vigorous hosts. Dense crowns of vigorous hosts tend to intercept more seeds and thus infection may be more likely. On the other hand, the host grows in height faster, and vertical spread of the parasite is impeded by dense foliage. Thus, vigorous trees can sometimes keep infection in the lower crown and escape serious damage.” http://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/intropp/lessons/miscellaneous/Pages/Dwarfmistletoes.aspx

    I guess, for me, the take-home message has two parts: First, sound forest management doesn’t necessarily come in one-size-fits-all; and, second, the science is out there but you have to dig for it, since many perspectives and even principles have evolved since most of us were forestry undergrads.

    • I’ve seen the vigor -loving and the attackers of the feeble, just in my experience in the woods. And when I observed BBs in Central Oregon, they started on the feeble, grew into large populations and then successfully attacked the healthy (after we thinned around them to protect them).

      Another take home message might be “where there are yummy trees in different stages of health, given enough of them, and enough time, something will evolve to eat them.”

      • I understand what Guy is saying about “simplistic” responses….I suppose he can be scientifically neutral about vigor. But there is a social context to forests, and the social context is biased in favor of vigorous trees. The general public proletarian would rather see green, straight, attractive trees growing nicely — regardless of economics although that does matter — versus sick, crooked, dying trees that might be really exciting for botanists and biologists and bugologists to grok over, but are still not what the proles want from their forests.

  5. There’s good news and there’s bad news: according to a new survey by the U.S. Forest Service, an outbreak of spruce beetles continues to accelerate across hundreds of square miles of new forest in Colorado, even as a much larger outbreak of the similar mountain pine beetle continues to slow across Wyoming, Colorado and the Black Hills.

    Spruce beetles infested 338 square miles of previously unaffected Colorado forest last year. The beetles laid claim to 286 square miles of new forest in 2012. “In Colorado, there’s a great deal of susceptible hosts — old, mature spruce stands,” said Brian Howell, regional aerial survey program manager for the Forest Service.

    The mountain pine beetle, in comparison, infected 97,000 acres in Colorado in in 2013, which was the lowest infected acreage in 15 years. Since the mid-1990s, mountain pine beetle infestation in the three states has covered a total area larger than Massachusetts. The pine beetle outbreak has slowed significantly over the past four years, largely because there are too few live lodgepole, limber and ponderosa trees left to infest.

    http://www.stateforesters.org/news-events/blog/invasive-beetle-outbreaks-fluctuating

  6. Pine beetle control.
    What works?
    Answer: TIME.

    “Typical outbreaks last for five to 16 years, but the current outbreak started 18 years ago in 1996.”

    All the thinning and “chunking” might have made no difference at all, or it might changed the character of the outbreak at the margins, but it is very unlikely that humans “controlled” the beetles at the population level.

  7. 2ndLaw and Company

    Thank you for that tremendous insight, I forgot that beetles pass on a timeline to their progeny that tells them to back off after 16 years. Maybe Sharon can explain how they do that. 🙁

    FYI – the outbreaks may average 16 years but the whole key is to intervene on the hot spots as they show up and are small in order to reduce the number and extent of the outbreaks. As I have said repeatedly, there is no economical way to stop an outbreak once it has occurred other than to let it run its course. In a regional outbreak, direct intervention is only helpful in localized areas where there is as yet no outbreak and we are only dealing with small hotspots and we want to keep them from growing into new outbreaks further expanding the range of the regional outbreak.

    Larry

    On page 6 of the new study that you may be referring to ( http://csfs.colostate.edu/pdfs/2013ForestHealthReport.pdf ) you will find that, “In many areas, MPB activity has declined as a result of the depletion of susceptible host trees. Management of lodgepole pine forests in and around the Aspen/Snowmass ski area and the slopes of Smuggler Mountain have helped reduce the loss of trees to MPB.” which is in complete agreement with what the opening post reported in the Black Hills and especially Custer State Park.

    Jon

    So it is ok for the USFS to do no risk reduction thinning or direct intervention on small hotspots knowing full well that by encouraging outbreaks to occur on their property, they will end up destroying the assets of countless land owners. Sounds kind of irresponsible. Most hot spots found early as the result of regular aerial patrols in seasons aren’t much more than a quarter acre and maybe occasionally five or more acres. A couple of chainsaws and it’s done in a mornings work. Cutting into chunks might raise the effort to a days work. It’s fine for you to sit in your chair and say that it is uneconomical but as noted in the post and in the link down below in my response to Larry Kurtz, it works and is economical even out west.

    Guy

    Since we are talking about Pine Beetles, you have applied science regarding herbivore selection preferences of insects regarding tree species that doesn’t have anything to do with this post. The various pine beetles in small hot spots will attack all pines. So selection isn’t the issue. The point isn’t what they will attack, it is about what trees are in the best position to defend themselves from attack. Healthy/vigorous Pine Trees will be able to exude sufficient quantities of pine rosin so as to pitch out the Pine Beetles. Unhealthy trees will succumb much more easily. I have explained this in even more detail in many other comments in other posts on this blog.

    The details matter. If intervention is not taken and the beetle populations break out, then even the healthy trees are overwhelmed by sheer numbers. So if this post is about mtn pine beetles why do you go off on a lecture about one size doesn’t fit all? You are a very knowledgeable professor but your knowledge has limits and it would help if you respected the author and asked for further explanation to help you try to understand the “why” of the point being made before you attack it. And if you haven’t kept up as you say “even principles have evolved since most of us were forestry undergrads”, why do you assume that those of us who have kept up – haven’t kept up and need to be admonished accordingly? A professor should be very good at not jumping to conclusions based on his personal bias. As you imply, even professor’s can later be found to have been wrong because they espoused something that was unproven theory. Your reference regarding selection has been understood in agronomy and forestry long before the 60’s when I was in college. So the principles behind selection and defense haven’t changed though the body of knowledge proving those principles has been expanded on considerably.

    • Gil, you’re right that my examples of why the “fundamental scientific principle” you referenced is not necessarily either fundamental,or universally applicable, were perhaps overkill. And indeed, the MPB/pine interaction is one where the “stress hypothesis” seems to be applicable. But note that it was you who framed the discussion as one-size-fits-all, i.e. “susceptibility of trees to insects and diseases”, which is overly generalized and often wrong. Which I think is what I said. But another important point also relates to science: the distinction between correlation and causation. These folks have been “cut-and-chunking” for apparently several years, and now the MPB infestation seems to be subsiding. Where’s the evidence that those two things are related? I think this may be part of what 2ndLaw was getting at. In fact, if most MPB outbreak cycles are only 5-16 yrs in length, and this one has gone on for 18 yrs, maybe cut-‘n-chunking has actually prolonged the problem? That may seem unlikely, and there seems to be no evidence to support that hypothesis. But, where’s the evidence supporting the opposite contention? That’s one reason that science is such a harsh mistress; it’s easy to wave the flag, but if you don’t have valid evidence (which is different than coincidence), than science doesn’t support you. And most scientists won’t either.

      • Guy

        Re: “it was you who framed the discussion as one-size-fits-all, i.e. “susceptibility of trees to insects and diseases”, which is overly generalized and often wrong.”
        –> I framed the discussion as being specific to Pine Beetles in the title and the 1st sentence. You seem to have re-framed the discussion by grabbing a statement out of the body of the post and making it ascendant to the title and first sentence. You have taken my statement “susceptibility of trees to insects and disease” and twisted it to a generalized statement that herbivores only attack weak plants and then you attacked your twisted construct. My original generalized statement stands as a fact that you can not disprove. Read it again and read it literally, it does not say what you impute it to say. It leaves plenty of room for the impact of vigor to be either negative or positive depending on the species involved.

        Re: “another important point also relates to science: the distinction between correlation and causation” and “where’s the evidence supporting the opposite contention?” and “if you don’t have valid evidence”.
        –> So you don’t think that I have any understanding about science or the ability to differentiate between correlation and causation. Why do you make this assumption? You even take this position in spite of your knowledge otherwise. This is not the first time you’ve assumed ignorance on the part of the other without first ascertaining the facts. No wonder many are not too fond of lawyers, it is just a game in which the truth is not relevant. I have a great deal of experience in statistical research design and analysis and ascertaining confounding factors? Did you just conveniently forget our prior discussions on said subject when I had to explain to you that the order of the data in a time series data set had no impact on the Probability Density Function or the mean?
        –> Why do you assume that I “don’t have valid evidence”? Why do you ignore my claim “It is a repeatedly proven fact explained by unquestionable science” without even asking me to back up my statement? Once again, you come across as being more interested in pontificating than getting to the truth. If you are really interested in the abundance of fact, I can probably dig up some links. Unfortunately, most of my references are pre-internet and I have probably tossed most of my copies since retiring. But, so far, I don’t see where you have an open mind so you’ll have to convince me that you would really like to know the truth before investing my time. My bet is that more rigorous statistically based research has been done on pine beetles than on any endangered species. In the 80’s, I even had independent research results from Texas and another state that established exponential curves establishing risk of successful attack to stand basal area. As I pointed out elsewhere in this blog, the threshold was about 120 BA. Above that point any significant acreage was just about guaranteed when significant acreage above the threshold occurred in a locale. The forest industry in the state of VA didn’t pay attention to these facts and tried no-thin 21 year old loblolly plantations (in the 90’s if my memory is correct) to source their paper mills. They paid big time.

        It’s your call, do you want the truth or do you want to continue to filter out truth that doesn’t jive with your bias?

  8. Here in California, we have all the elements for another plague of bark beetles in the Sierra Nevada. We haven’t even “recovered” from the last one, in the early 90’s. A very large chunk of those dead trees still are still in the forests around Lake Tahoe, and even more widespread through the Sierra Nevada. Dead trees really don’t decay and turn into soil, here. They burn long before that can happen.

    There was a similar event in the LA Basin, about 12 years ago. Even the healthy trees near perennial streams were overwhelmed by clouds of bark beetles. I call it the “shotgun effect”, when trees have too many holes in them, leaking too much tree sap to defend itself.

    Again, one of my restoration principles is to match tree densities to annual rainfalls. Sadly, the preservationists don’t really want that kind of restoration.

    • Larry

      I appreciate your on the ground knowledge and contribution to this discussion. My comment reply to Larry above was to Larry Kurtz – I have no problem with your contributions anywhere here on NCFP.

      • I did respond, knowing that, Gil. Thanks. It is kind of sad that so much of my career was spent salvaging dead and dying trees. I have done that kind of work in California, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. That includes 13 different National Forests. Saying that (today’s more careful) logging doesn’t stop active bark beetle infestations is like saying that eating healthy organic food doesn’t stop active cancer.

      • Mr. DeHuff: thirty years in the Black Hills has led to a working hypothesis that cattle have introduced antibiotics to every watershed that are disrupting the fungal communities mycorrhizal with aspen and ponderosa pine. Furthermore, the surfactant in Roundup has made parts of the Hills incapable of supporting those same organisms.

        You should also know that I am actively working to wrest control the the Black Hills National Forest from USDA and make it part of a trust settlement with tribes within the Dept. of Interior.

        I have also engaged WildEarth Guardians and other litigators in efforts to make Felis concolor a threatened species in the state as part of their sage grouse protection initiatives.

        Thank you for your piece on the hijinks of locals.

        • I haven’t seen where the Black Hills National Forest has been using herbicides like Roundup. Are you generically “applying” it to the National Forest, or is there an active usage of it on National Forest land that you are seeking to end? If the tribes took it over, and decided on more active management, including tree removal, would you still support that idea? Or, would you seek to limit their control, as well. It sounds more like “if Mom won’t give it to you, ask Grandma!”

            • One would think that more examples would show up in a Google search. I don’t doubt that they have an herbicide program but, I’m sure they had significant hoops to jump through to enable it. Why didn’t YOU sue to stop (or change) the program? I do know the need to have a healthy system of soil fungus. Your cause could be furthered by some sort of measurement of soil health. Yes, I do have experience in much of the Spearfish Ranger District. There are many human impacts, both old and new.

              • Sharon: counties are under contract by the FS to spray wherever they wish. Witness the Aker scandal: there is copious evidence of how Supervisor Craig Bobzien is beholden to South Dakota’s Republican establishment and the logging industry.

                • Larry- please link to the “copious evidence” that Bobzien is “beholden” to “SD Republican establishment and the logging industry.”

                  Because from where I sit, each Forest Supervisor has to be aware and respectful of the views of local people and elected officials, whether D or R’s and also respectful of the ways local people make a living and their historic use of the forests, be it ski areas, grazing, timber or plain old sightseeing (as say, the Angeles).

                  “Beholden” implies to me that there is something inappropriate about this. Please clarify exactly what it is that Supervisor Bobzien has done that led you to this conclusion.

                  Also what is your evidence that people are spraying herbicides on FS land? Is there documentation of this, say an agreement between the FS and counties?

            • Larry Kurtz

              How can we tell that this spot treatment photo isn’t in someone’s front yard? Looks like it is probably from a visitor’s center entryway or parking lot – If so, I have no problems with this miniscule amount of weed killer spot application – It sure isn’t a broadcast application applied willy-nilly – It sure isn’t going to cause any significant environmental damage from runoff or from getting into the soil. How do we know that that isn’t green paint used to mark an underground utility prior to planned digging? How do we know what country this photo was taken in?

              The sky is not falling.

    • It hasn’t been cold at all, here in the Sierra Nevada. Bark beetles have been actively killing trees this winter. It can only get worse, for the rest of this year. With almost no snow and rain for two winter months, I think the coming bloom has already been set into motion. I am about 50 miles from the edge of the Rim Fire, as the crow flies. I can’t say that bark beetles from the Rim Fire have made it here yet but, I think it is inevitable in the next two months.

    • Larry Kurtz

      If you knew the details you’d know that it is science. Without the details it is urban legend.

      Basically it has to be so cold (17 to -30 degrees F peak temperature depending on the duration of the cold snap) for so long of a sustained period that the trees actually freeze and remain frozen for 2 to 3 weeks – Those are the facts. That is science. Here is another reference http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/25558

      • I really shouldn’t jump into the debate between Gil and Larry Kurtz; however, I feel that it should be pointed out that Larry K simply directly quoted the opening paragraph from a Black Hills Fox TV station news story.

        As such, Gil’s response above, which seems directed entirely at educating Larry K, should actually be directed to Fox News in Rapid City and the reporter and/or producer who put together the story. Thanks.

        See for yourself Gil:

        http://www.blackhillsfox.com/201403084131/cold-winter-not-hurting-pine-beetles.html

        • Matthew

          Would Larry have made the quote if he’d known it was wrong? So you are right, I was educating Larry not Fox TV and I was correct in that Larry didn’t know the details. It wasn’t and still isn’t important to me where he got the bad info from. I have no communication with Fox TV nor do I want to. What obligation do I have to do so? Larry was misinformed. As a fellow member of this group he has now had the facts presented to him to do with as he pleases. Fox misinformed him. It would seem to me that he would have the most reason to want to correct Fox TV which is not a member of this NCFP group and, therefore, probably not of much interest to anyone in this group.

          This applies equally to the ongoing disagreement between you and me when you quote something and then disavow any agreement with what you quote when its shortcomings are pointed out. I can live with your quirks and I hope that you can live with mine because we seem to come from entirely different planets in terms of mindset, experience and education.

          There is no debate to jump into on the “urban legend” issue since Larry hasn’t expressed any disagreement with my effort to enlighten him. So maybe your jumping into the discussion and my reply will help you to understand where I am coming from.

          I haven’t given up on you, it may take a couple of centuries but I am quite confident that you will eventually see the error of your ways and repent of your many sins against mother nature and our nations forests. Just joking, I know that you are a hopeless case. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Please forgive my poor attempt at humor.

          • Gil: You must have missed this post, “Upping our Discussion Game” from Sharon, owner and moderator of this blog. She wrote:

            I think many folks have slipped on this road, including me, and I am not going to single anyone out. As of now, though, I’d ask all of us to step back and try to work on a couple of things to NOT do :

            1. Name calling, sarcasm and snark.
            2. Questioning people’s motives (i.e. people on or off the blog)
            3. Lumping people into groups (e.g., Sowell works for the Hoover Institution, therefore we all know he’s not worth listening to).

            • Matthew

              No, I didn’t miss it. But I need you to show me where I went wrong in my immediately preceding post which you seem to find so offensive in spite of my thinking that I was in compliance. But before you do, please read it literally without assuming anything in between the lines. Was my apology about my poor attempt at humor unacceptable? Like Sharon said elsewhere, ‘let’s be specific’.

              I honestly didn’t think that I was doing anything out of line but apparently what is reasonable in my world isn’t in yours – no snark intended, just a simple statement that we think very differently. Educate me as to what offended you.

  9. To be clear: i wholly support mechanical harvest as part of a restoration strategy and only if prescribed burns follow but using the illusion of the control of a native insect as patronage in a politically motivated smokescreen is why the Black Hills is a broken ecosystem.

    • I’m sure that every person here is in favor of more prescribed burns. Unfortunately, it is MUCH easier to depend on “unplanned ignitions” and “whatever happens”. Politicians will throw more money at the symptom of the problem, in the form of more fire suppression equipment. Lots of good photo ops standing next to a shiny new fire engine.

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