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Western trees dying at an unprecidented rate


tvashtarkatena
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Could be a combo of both warm weather and :

 

plant_annrep05_euplatypus_composita.jpg

 

However, last year was sooo cold for soooo long. Hope the last winter did some winter kill on those insects.

 

This was last 4th of July weekend (my new feather friends coat my brother bought for my birthday came in handy).

 

7_4_08_Cathedral_Formation_Road_closure_small_2.jpg

 

I saw that story, and have been seeing some of the tree die off, even as close as the 1-205/Camas interchange - pretty disturbing.

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Stuff like the mountain pine beetle is affected by heat during the growing season. Longer warm weather and less cold cold snaps in the winter lead to lots of beetle breeding. The beetle has been here forever, but long term climate has made the beetle go nuts. Mountain pine beetle is currently going wild in inland BC.

 

City American elm trees in the NW have recently been effected by the elm bark beetle. It sure took the little guy a long time to travel from the east to the west of the continent. I remember spotting some of the first dutch elm disease in the area during the 90s. That got brought here by shipping containers from Europe.

 

Shipping containers with bugs have mostly killed off the American chestnut. American chestnuts used to be the dominant trees in eastern mountains.

 

One of the most recent bad bugs is the emerald ash borer. Right now it's wrecking native ash trees in the mid west and east. Here's a map of affected areas.

 

[img:center]http://www.emeraldashborer.info/images/USA.gif[/img]

 

This is what it does

 

[img:center]http://www.ingham.org/CE/hort/eab2.jpg[/img]

 

This is what it looks like

 

[img:center]http://www.ars.usda.gov/images/docs/4082_4266/Emerald%20ash%20borer_male.jpg[/img]

 

It is yet again another insect that was brought to the Midwest in shipping containers. Since it arrived it spread. You'll see a lot of posters saying don't move firewood. This is part of the reason.

 

Obviously the NW is a long way away, but just like dutch elm disease things spread. Oregon Ash trees are native to the NW, but several varieties of green ash are commonly planted as street trees in many cities.

 

Longer average warm climate gives all these little fuckers longer seasons to breed and spread.

 

 

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I was at a forestry conference this week in NorCal and there were a number of presentations on tree destroying insects. The writing on the wall is twofold:

1. We need to manage forests better so that tree densities arent off the charts (high density=nutrient stress=less ability to fight disease/insects...). And I am not particularly advocating logging as a solution. Controlled underburns and thinning are amazing tools that, long term, could reduce to near zero the occurrence of catastrophic wildfire. Most of these pests are occuring in areas where fire regimes are short.

2. Due to the intensity of tree death from various pathogens, the forests of the US and Canadia are now a CARBON SOURCE. Trees break down/burn, they release carbon, and accelerate climate change. A solution is mandatory, a MASSIVE change on a federal level(since that is who owns half the forests in the US) is necessary, and it it has to be eff'n soon.

 

On a side note, the pine beetle outbreaks are nearing their end. A pheremone impregnated plastic confetti is almost ready to go to federal approval. The pheremone can be used to control the movement of the beetles and reduce the outbreaks to natural levels (the little beasties are native to North America after all.)

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