The great Canadian pine forest die-off and grizzly bears

Despite the headline, the article says isn’t clear what the huge pine die-off in Alberta (and, not mentioned in the article, nearby B.C.) will have on the grizzly bear.

Scientists using bears to battle bugs. By Jeff Holubitsky, CanWest News Service

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  1. JimBob Avatar

    This article mentions “harvesting” bark beetle infested trees. That would actually be ok except that disturbance of the trees would actually harm the uninfested trees. The only thing that makes it tough for Bark Beetles to infest an entire area is that they are not very mobile. Dragging Beetle infested trees through the forest would probably exacerbate the problem by making it easier for the beetles from a dead tree to move to a live one. We have these very problems here in Arizona and the methods of control are few. Forest thinning or controlled burns may be effective, but not without moisture. The drought makes things worse, even with treatments. Imagine the effects of global warming. The only other savior for infected forests is cold weather.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Jim Bob, you are right!
    I don’t think the salvage logging of lodgepole pine infested by the mountain pine bark beetle has worked to stem an epidemic anywhere.
    I watched it in Idaho in Island Park, next to Yellowstone in the period from 1975-1996 or so when essentially all the trees had been salvaged. With no trees left, of course, the infestation was gone.
    A huge infestation built and is now mature in the Sawtooth Mountains, Sawtooth Valley and adjacent areas in central Idaho. They have tried single tree removal and a few clear cuts, but everyone knows a fire is coming. The trees just keep dying and will do so until, as you say, a long spell of very cold weather.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if almost all the conifer stands in Western Canada that are primarily lodgepine pine die from this. Then, or during, there will be huge forest fires.
    There is no way on earth the timber companies can cut the dying and dead pines fast enough


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan