SoCal bugs

Larry Harrell lhfotoware at
Sat Oct 12 08:03:45 EST 2002

Larry Caldwell <larryc at> wrote in message news:<MPG.1810f3ac17c51ae598a105 at>...
> We have a major bark beetle infestation going on all over the west 
> because of two years of drought.  The trees don't have enough moisture to 
> pitch them out.  Even well established, mature stands are dying.  
> Overcrowded stands in need of thinning have been particularly hard hit 
> because of competition between trees for available moisture.  
> Private landowners are doing a lot of salvage thinning.  The feds, of 
> course, are doing nothing.

Yep, been there and done that. During the last drought in the early
90's, the Placerville Ranger District harvested 300 million board feet
of dead and dying timber in four years. Currently, the annual cut for
the whole Eldorado National Forest is about 2 million board feet.

Right now, I'm working on the Sumter National Forest in South Carolina
doing stand exams. There is also a drought down here in Dixie and the
is a patchwork of insect attacks killing pines. There is an aggressive
effort to salvage the dead trees and limit the infestation by removing
actively attacked trees.

"Preservationists" might claim that bark beetles are a natural part of
our environment but, excellent habitat for these beetles is growing
and expanding unnaturally. Overcrowded stands make minor droughts into
major problems. Fires also cause "blooms" of bark beetles which infect
stands outside of the burned areas.

It is unfortunate that some choose to hide their heads in the sand and
still claim that "preservation" will fix everything. Whatever happens
in the West, I think TEAMS will be very busy.


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