The above is an attempt to show ( a small portion of) the variety of conditions that might be included under “bark beetles and fire” in the western US. Types are Ponderosa Pine, Lodgepole Pine, Mixed Conifer and Spruce-Fir. Beetles are Western Pine, Mountain Pine and Spruce. I apologize for the low quality of the table, especially the graphics but also including that I don’t know what beetles are in which types in which regions for sure.
This discussion of bark beetles and fire has been fascinating! Clearly, a given fuel treatment project might occur under a variety of conditions (including WUI and not). But if you look at the variety of types (I tried to make some generalities about the locations of people on this blog), it’s pretty easy to determine that a simple question like Bob asked about fungal breakdown, can vary by slope and aspect, species and a variety of other conditions within one of these larger regions. So this table is not a finished product (obviously) but I think most people might think “bark beetle fuel loadings” might be a very different thing with spruce beetle in spruce fir on the Rio Grande, mountain pine beetle in lodgepole in Central Oregon, etc.
Perhaps we could try referring to a specific region, type and species when we talk about bark beetles and fire?
I know this discussion started with the NASA study, but really. 1. NASA has satellites, 2. Used them at a scale that works for their tool, 3. Had bucks to study stuff, 4.some imply say that a correlative analysis at that scale is relevant to fuels management that occurs on a local scale. It’s 3 that’s the real value judgment.
Suppose folks on this blog were funded to design research that would answer the question “what is the best use of federal bucks in promoting fire-resilient communities?” Or even the simpler, “how should fuel treatment dollars be prioritized?”