Beetle Kill in the Upper Chewaucan

Beetle Kill from Bald Butte

Beetle Status
• 300000+ acres currently infested • Plots in upper Chewaucan appear static No changes from 2007 to 2008 • Beetles appear to be moving:
– North: Thompson Reservoir area – South/west: Bly Area – South/east: Lower Chewaucan

Characteristics of Beetle Killed Trees
50% of all trees 70% Lodgepole/ 30% Ponderosa if mixed forest PinCon larger than 20cm (6in) PinPon smaller than 30cm (12in) or old growth in dense stands or marginal areas Lodgepole Basal Area > 150 Fastest growing trees Crown Ratios >40% Crown Widths 15 feet

Characteristics of Unaffected Trees
• 50% of all trees (around 150 trees per acre unaffected- smaller trees) • Lodgepole DBH< 10in, Height<50 ft • Ponderosa (if present) DBH>18in, Height>50ft • BA = 40 to 60 after beetle kill • Dense wood, repressed trees survive (Lodgepole) • Crown ratio=<40% • Crown Width=9ft • Growth release possible to reforest area

Miscellaneous Observations
• Soil Moisture Low around live trees and high around infected trees (Dying trees stop releasing moisture – also in preferred (best sites) Lodgepole • Cambium moisture higher in dying trees than live trees, and low in dead trees (Healthy fast growing lodgepole are selected) • Uninfected trees generally had no beetle holes indicating they were targeted differently than the infected trees. (Large surface area of largest lodgepole appears to cause beetles to release pheromones attracting more beetles) • Infected trees had an average of 4.3 beetles holes per square foot

Currier Springs

Currier Springs

Cummins Creek

Beetle Entry

Old Growth Pine

Affects on Old Growth Ponderosa
• Thick bark next to cambium of healthy trees keeps beetles from reaching cambium over several years. • Beetles burrow 3-4cm in a year feeding on pitch tubes in puzzle bark. It takes 3 years for a beetle to reach cambium at that rate. • Trees in marginal areas have thin bark covering the cambium at the V junction and can be killed in 1 year • Dense stands of understory or stocking of large trees over 30 trees per acre become stressed and prone to beetle infestation

Thin Bark on Infected Ponderosa

Rock Springs

Rock Springs

South Fork Sycan

South Fork of Sycan River

Lee Thomas Turnoff

Lee Thomas Turnoff

Ingram

North of Ingram

Campbell Lake Turnoff

Campbell Lake

Downed Wood Summary Values
stand species DBHq AveDBH TPA AveHt TBA SDI CurtisRD TVolPerA cre

Campbell

OT

13.3

12.45

113.3

56.3

109.26

179

30

6559.9

CurrierS

OT

11.92

10.66

84.61

47.7

65.56

112.1

19

4893.8

Ingram

OT

13.85

13.32

49.21

70.6

51.49

83

13.8

4027.8

LeeThom

OT

15.92

15.64

39.48

71.9

54.59

83.3

13.7

4268.6

RockSp

OT

9.76

9.51

99.63

42.2

51.78

95.9

16.6

1677.1

SFSycan

OT

11.04

10.95

37.85

38.5

25.18

44.4

7.6

1264.8

Avg/Acre

Lodgepole

12.6

12.1

70.7

54.5

59.6

99.6

16.8

3782.0

Beetle Kill Aftermath
• Most snags (DBH<20cm) down in 5 years
– PinCon snags from beetle kill don’t last long – Much down already (3-4 years)

• Jackstraw logs resting on other logs
– Will dry out and decompose extremely slowly
• 50 years?

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

Fire potential
• Very high in snag stage
– – – –
– – – –

400+ stems per stand 50% dead / 90% largest trees dead Ladder fuels 5 to 20 years?
50+ stems on ground rotting 100+ jackstrawed dry stems 20 large snags to carry fire to canopy 5 to 50 years?

• Very high in jackstrawed stage

Fire results
• 70% extremely hot over 90% of area • All vegetation destroyed
– Dead, living, regenerating trees

• Majority of soils bisked
– – – – – – – Mt. Mazama ash soils – bisked at <400 C 400+ C at soil surface from DWD Humus layers plasticized Hydrophobic soils for years Lost capacity to absorb and store water High erosion Little natural regeneration (most seed destroyed)
• Non serrotonous seeds in our area

– Very slow recovery

New even age stands in non catastrophic areas

Recommendations
• Uneven age ecosystem and regenerated seedlings worth preserving
– Well stocked with trees 4 – 10 inch DBH
• Meets recommended BA of 40 sq. ft / acre

– Good number of trees > 40 ft tall – Well stocked with seedlings < 10 ft tall

• Divide areas into similar units within watersheds and separate with 100m boundaries
– Fire restricted to a small area (500 acres) – Will create a diverse mosaic over time that will be more resistant to beetle infestations and catastrophic fire

Beetle Proofing?
Beetles appear to prefer large lodgepole Beetles appear to leave when stand densities are lower (BA 40 – 60) Beetles take 3 or more years to kill large Ponderosa

(Reduce density of large lodgepole and manage for stratified stands)