9 thoughts on “Is it cold enough to kill mountain pine beetles?”

  1. Could it be that “suitable habitat” is more of a factor in bark beetle populations than cold?!?!?!?!?!?!? Sadly, preservationists are preserving potential and existing bark beetle habitat, in the name of Gaia. Not to mention arsonist habitat!

  2. 60% of Colorado’s forests burned in the late 1800’s (Why do you suppose there’s so much Aspen). I can’t think of one decent fire in the last 100 years.Do you suppose the beetle thing happened then? Was in climate change that caused it?

  3. Matthew- In Colorado, the threat is not waning in fact, MPB is moving into Front Range ponderosa- also it seems to be worsening in the Black Hills.

    Here’s a link to the 2010 Aerial Survey results for Colorado, Wyoming and S. Dakota.

    Forest Health Aerial Survey Highlights for 2010

    Bark Beetle Epidemic – 400,000 new acres

    The aerial survey results revealed that nearly a half-million new acres were infested in 2010; these are acres that had not previously been affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic. The total number of acres impacted by the entire mountain pine beetle outbreak since 1996 in Colorado and southern Wyoming is now 4 million acres.

    * The bark beetle infestation grew by 400,000 acres in Colorado and southern Wyoming in 2010. The bark beetle continues to spread north and east and is now moving rapidly along the Front Range and into ponderosa pine trees.
    * The highest levels of mortality are in the Snowy Range in southern Wyoming.
    * Pockets of beetle activity detected in 2009 in low-elevation ponderosa pine stands along the Front Range and into southern Wyoming expanded dramatically in 2010.
    * Mountain pine beetle activity continues at epidemic levels on the Black Hills National Forest and adjacent lands in South Dakota and in northeast Wyoming, nearly doubling in size from 23,000 acres in 2009 to 44,000 acres in 2010.
    * Northwest Wyoming is also experiencing an increase in the bark beetle epidemic.

    Here’s the new Colorado map.

  4. Shannon, Thanks for the info about CO. For the record, I’d just like to point out that the title the folks at the Helena IR gave their own article was “Bark beetles threat waning?” Those words were not chosen by me and do not necessarily reflect my views on the matter. Thanks. Here’s a snip from that article.

    “Especially around Helena and Butte, that outbreak has been going on for a number of years, and essentially they’re running out of food, so the population is declining. We don’t have a lot of information or data, but we also suspect that an early [below zero] cold snap last October, and then the cool, wet summer, also contributed to the decline, or at least had some effect on the population by disrupting the beetle’s normal progress.” – Greg DeNitto, the group leader for forest health protection at the regional national forest office in Missoula,

  5. My point was simply that different parts of the country are different- and that’s why the question of cold and bark beetles showed up on TV news in a major metro area.

  6. We can surely expect additional mortality where stocking levels and species composition are so very far away from historical baselines. I’ve heard several people say “We can never goi back to historical baselines and species compositiions”.

    My question is : WHY?!?!?!?!?!?! No one will answer that question to my satisfaction.

    Today’s preservationists want to “restore” (by doing NOTHING!) forests to a pre-man baseline that no one could possibly know. Simply taking a tree-choked forest and letting whatever happens is NOT a scientific approach, and will surely result in forest destruction, incinerated homes, and yes, human deaths.

  7. Larry H/Fotoware:

    You said, “I’ve heard several people say ‘We can never goi back to historical baselines and species compositiions’. My question is : WHY?!?!?!?!?!?! No one will answer that question to my satisfaction.”

    These are dynamic ecosystems that change and vary greatly over time. They are not static. What “historical baseline” are you proposing we “take” these forests back to? Do you have a date? A decade? Is it the same for every forest? Every place on Earth? Has our climate changed over time?

    You also said, “Today’s preservationists want to ‘restore’ (by doing NOTHING!) forests to a pre-man baseline that no one could possibly know.”

    Funny, Larry, but I’ve actually never heard anyone in our movement ever talk about doing this. Honestly, the only people I ever hear talking about this type of stuff are people like you, who claim it’s the enviros who believe this.

    Anyway, far as I can tell, most of the enviros I know working on these issues believe that the best way to restore these degraded landscapes is to remove the impediments to naturally functioning ecosystems. This approach isn’t about 1850, 1492 or 2000 bc. Thanks.

  8. Most people seem to prefer any baseline around 1400, before the white man came to America. Of course, you annot use one locales baseline for another site….duh! (Lovely strawman!) It is generally accepted that Indian burning practices resulted in the resilient P. pine forests that used to dominate the West. Even if there isn’t an actual numerical stocking level, it is VERY clear that today’s stocking levels are far beyong the carrying capacity of our current precipitation.

    Ummmm, what about NREPA?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!??!?!?! THAT is preservationism at its very worst! They claim that merely making it all into Wilderness will fix and protect the forests. They have been pushing that eastern Gaia-worship for YEARS, now! JEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZ!!! Once they have exercised Eminent Domain on 20 million acres of private lands in the East to make into Wilderness Areas, then we can consider more Wilderness for the West.

    Impediments = man… in their anti-human beliefs. Hey, if you believe that “man is a cancer upon the earth”, shouldn’t you end your life right now? Or, at the very least, give up your cellphones, air conditioners, computers, cars, airline travel, trains, organic food from California, MSNBC and all of Al Gore’s wealth?!?!?

    Hey, why not “sculpt” our forests to fit the current climate, instead of this Die, Rot and Burn “crappiola”? I’m not talking about high elevation pure lodgepole stands in Wilderness and National Parks. I’m talking about forests which were of mixed conifers and maybe some hardwoods, in the West. It’s called “site-specific” science, Matt. If a stand once supported trees other than lodgepoles and other similar serotinous pines, we should be “restoring” them back to the resilient, historic forests they once were, before fire suppression.

    I think that open-minded people who understand forest sciences will welcome this strategy with open arms. And, like you say, “naturally functioning ecosystems” is also subject to site and climate. Since the climate is drier, shouldn’t we have LESS trees competing for the scarce precipitation?!? Instead, too many people think more trees is always better.

    And what about the massives amounts of GHG’s going into our upper atmosphere?? Shouldn’t we be “regulating” those, as well? Shouldn’t we stop adding to the feedback loops? Shouldn’t we be saving the remnants of our old growth we have left.

    Finally, shouldn’t we be “saving forests” that aren’t lodgepoles?

    PS Excuse the sarcasm but…. I don’t believe in the “Gods” of either side.


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