Beetle Kill in the Upper Chewaucan

Beetle Kill from Bald Butte

Beetle Status
• 700000+ acres currently infested • Beetles are moving:
– South/west: Bly Area – South/east: Lower Chewaucan – South: Upper Cottonwood – West: Towards Klamath Basin – West: From Colorado Rocky Mountains

Trees Most Susceptible to Beetles
• • • • Pines Fastest growing Largest lodgepole Smaller ponderosas

Characteristics of Surviving Trees
• • • • Small lodgepole Medium to large ponderosa Dense wood, suppressed trees survive Thick bark

Miscellaneous Observations
When beetles find a healthy tree that is a good food source, they release pheromones that attract more beetles.

Beetle Entry

Affects on Old Growth Ponderosa
• Thick bark protects heart wood. • It takes 3-4 years for beetles to reach heart wood. • Bark sloughs off as beetles feed on pitch, making the tree more susceptible to the next wave of beetles

South Fork Sycan

South Fork of Sycan River


North of Ingram

Campbell Lake Turnoff

Beetle Kill Aftermath
• Most snags down in 5 years
– lodgepole snags from beetle kill don’t stand for long – Much down already after only 3-4 years

• Jackstraw logs resting on other logs
– Will dry out and decompose extremely slow, approximately 50 years

• Inhibit large game occupation • Dense standing and dense when down

Fire potential
• The fire potential in beetle kill stands is extremely high. • Standing dead trees pose risk to standing live trees • Trees on ground burn hot, bake soil, and spread fire across floor.

Fire results
• Fire burns extremely hot • All vegetation destroyed • Majority of soils bisked (baked)
– Hydrophobic soils for years – Lost capacity to absorb and store water – High erosion – Little natural regeneration (most seed destroyed) – Very slow recovery