Three related documents for study and discussion: A paper from the journal Forests, a response to the paper also published in Forests, and a white paper by a group of USFS Forest Health Protection folks.
Management for Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak Suppression: Does Relevant Science Support Current Policy?” by Diana L. Six, Eric Biber, and Elisabeth Long, Forests 2014, 5, 103-133.
Abstract: While the use of timber harvests is generally accepted as an effective approach
to controlling bark beetles during outbreaks, in reality there has been a dearth of monitoring
to assess outcomes, and failures are often not reported. Additionally, few studies have
focused on how these treatments affect forest structure and function over the long term, or
our forests’ ability to adapt to climate change. Despite this, there is a widespread belief in
the policy arena that timber harvesting is an effective and necessary tool to address beetle
infestations. That belief has led to numerous proposals for, and enactment of, significant
changes in federal environmental laws to encourage more timber harvests for beetle
control. In this review, we use mountain pine beetle as an exemplar to critically evaluate
the state of science behind the use of timber harvest treatments for bark beetle suppression
during outbreaks. It is our hope that this review will stimulate research to fill important
gaps and to help guide the development of policy and management firmly based in science,
and thus, more likely to aid in forest conservation, reduce financial waste, and bolster
public trust in public agency decision-making and practice.
A Comment on Six et al by Christopher J. Fettig, Kenneth E. Gibson, A. Steven Munson, and Jose F. Negrón, Forests 2014, 5, 822-826.
“Effectiveness of Direct and Indirect Mountain Pine Beetle Control Treatments as Implemented by the USDA Forest Service,” a White Paper in response to Six et al by 28 technical editors and contributors, all with USFS Forest Health Protection.