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.””