Beetles attack Santa Fe pine forests

quibbler quibbler247 at
Sat Nov 29 00:58:41 EST 2003

In article <7a90c754.0311262043.201b40b9 at>, 
lhfotoware at says...
> Monday, November 24, 2003   San Francisco Chronicle
> Beetles attack Santa Fe pine forests 
> SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- A cousin of the bark beetles that are attacking
> pinon trees in northern New Mexico is feasting on ponderosa pines in
> the Santa Fe National Forest.
> The forest has hired a logging company

Wow, a forest can hire people to log itself?  

> -- Jemez Mountain Forest
> Products -- to thin about 100 acres in the Redondo campground in the
> Jemez Mountains west of Santa Fe this winter to fight the problem.
> "We're hoping to stop it here so it doesn't take hold and take off up
> the mountain,"

How about using a pesticide?  It sounds like this approach is killing the 
trees in order to "save them".

> said Tom Malecek, timber staff officer of the forest.
> Bark beetles killed more than 300 large ponderosa pine trees last year

Gee, I wonder if the logging will kill more than 300 large ponderosa 
pines this year.

> at the Paliza campground on the southwest side of the Jemez Mountains,
> and foresters are beginning to see more sick and dying pine trees in
> other areas of the Jemez.

So how is cutting 100 acres of trees going to affect a problem that may 
be widespread?

> The federal government is paying Jemez Mountain Forest Products about
> $550 per acre to thin the campground.

So if they thin it won't that still leave the beetles other trees to eat?  
How would this control the infestation?  Also, is it just a coincidence 
that they are "thinning" around the campground?

> The company's owner, Larry Garcia of Jemez Springs, also will be able
> to sell wood products from about 250,000 board-feet of saw timber from
> cutting from campground trees 9 inches in diameter or larger.

At maybe 100 board feet per tree this is 2500 large trees killed by 
logging in response to 300 large trees being killed by beetles.  The 
loggers are almost an order of magnitude worse than the insects at the 

> He said he expects to complete the project in February. 
> The thinning project is the first so-called "stewardship contract" in
> the U.S. Forest Service's New Mexico-Arizona region under President
> Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative, which lets loggers take some larger
> trees to offset costs they incur thinning smaller, unwanted trees to
> reduce fire danger and improve forest health.
> Environmentalists say, however, that removing larger trees increases
> fire danger.
> Trees that the Jemez loggers can cut down have been sprayed with blue
> paint. Many of those trees are sick from bark beetle infestation or
> from overcrowding from other trees.
> "Generally, we mark the suppressed, dead or dying trees," Malecek
> said. "You don't want to take the big, healthy trees. We're not taking
> the big yellow-bellied trees that are growing good."

That's nice to hear, but I highly doubt that they are only cutting out 
dead wood.  That doesn't make such good lumber.  

> After the logging, the campground's trees should grow large and
> healthy because they will have less competition for water, sunlight
> and space, said Ronnie Herrera, timber staff officer for the Jemez
> district.

Yeah, but what about the insect scourge?  

> Comment from poster: It's the same old story of "ancient forests" not
> surviving merely moderate droughts. Too many trees in the forest
> stealing water from the olf growth. Burning off just the saplings does
> very little to alleviate drought brought on by forest overcrowding.

Do doubt some thinning needs to be done.  However, that has nothing to do 
with the nominal excuse about the insects.  

> Of
> course, the folks in alt.forestry already know this. Controlled
> burning alone cannot accomplish what is needed in our National
> Forests.

Gee, you mean that forests can't survive without the help of man?  Get 
real.  They've been around longer than we have.  

> However, someday in the distant future, when the last piece
> of Federal timberland ( that actually needs work ) is treated and can
> have a more natural fire regime, Americans will look back and wonder
> how we could let our forest eco-systems get into such bad shape.

Yeah, sure.  

> Larry,   Federal eco-forestry rules!

Too bad that's not what they're practicing.  

      Quibbler (
"It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the 
threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, 'mad cow'
disease, and many others, but I think a case can be 
made that faith is one of the world's great evils, 
comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to 
eradicate."  -- Richard Dawkins

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