WWPblog has a post evaluating a few demonstrative leadership decisions Jim Caswell has been involved in. Caswell’s been tapped to lead BLM.
This is the southernmost record for grizzly bears in many years. The bear was in poor shape.
Story by Cat Urbigkit in the Casper Star Tribune. Hunter Mistakenly Kills Grizzly.
The wave of dead lodgepole and whitebark pine has mostly passed in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA). However, the primary reason is that most of the pine are now dead.
The epidemic began just downriver from Stanley, Idaho in the late 1990s. While the Forest Service tried cutting affected trees and also did proactive thinning, it did little to stop the epidemic. The Service’s “red tree” program (named after the color of the pine needles when the tree first dies) helped reduced the fire danger to residences somewhat, but the mountain pine bark beetles moved on just like they almost always do until a very cold winter stops their march.
What happened in the SNRA is currently taking place on a much larger scale in British Columbia and now Alberta. No amount of logging can keep ahead of the die-off.
The end result will be big forest fires. These will renew the forests unless the climate has changed making the area too hot or dry for lodgepole pine. Lodgepole regenerates easily because the cones lie in the shade for years and, which one kind of exception, open only when exposed to direct sun or fire.
Whitebark pine is not so fortunate because is grows on the high slopes, just below timberline, where growth is slow under the best conditions. It is also beset by whitebark pine blister rust, an exotic fungal disease.
The Idaho Mountain Express recently wrote of the epidemic wave. Mountain pine beetle slows down. years-long infestation is past its peak, forester says. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Assistant Editor. Read the rest of this entry »