Are we overrating the Mountain Pine Beetle?

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest Native Plants' started by angilbas, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. angilbas

    angilbas Active Member

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    I toured the BC Interior in 1994, long before the Mountain Pine Beetle received the publicity it has now. Lodgepole Pine was the undisputed king of many a forested area, as around Blue River. The trees were healthy (in contrast to Western Hemlock) and by all appearances "there to stay."

    Google Street View images of Blue River from 2009 were far less flattering, with many orange or bare trees. Images from 2012, however, show little additional dieback. Lots of pine survived and their reproduction is good. The area around Blue River looks primed to become thick and green once again.

    To the beetle I say, "Enjoy your infamy while you can." To foresters and gardeners: "Don't let it stop you from planting pine."


    -Tony
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Much of the recent publicity has been about Pinus ponderosa, not P. contorta. Any observations on that species?
     
  3. angilbas

    angilbas Active Member

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    There are fewer healthy ponderosa than during my travels in the 1980s and 1990s. But since the mid-to-late 2000s its condition appears to have stabilized. Areas of dying pine where The Andromeda Strain was filmed (as around Hedley) in 2006 don't look any worse. Some regeneration is in progress although it is modest by comparison with P. contorta.
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  5. Grooonx7

    Grooonx7 Active Member

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    Pines and pine beetles go way back together. Either lightning fires or pine beetles are likely to limit pines in the Rockies to a life cycle of only 40 years or so. In theory the trees could grow much longer, but there is a balance there; always has been.

    Human logging is not in balance with such things. Logging is about profit, measured in money. The logging companies have always attempted to sound good by using such euphemisms as "harvesting", but when it comes to getting in line with natural cycles, the companies forget all about harmony. They simply hate the pine beetles.

    Logging profits and regrowth of forests are not keen on embracing suggestions that pine beetles have been an integral part of the pines' way of life for a long, long time. IF there were no such natural balances, the loggers' math might work, for awhile. But it just doesn't work that way. There is nothing "wrong" with pine beetles. There is everything wrong with that other infestation we call logging.
     

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