WASHINGTON - A battle plan is being formulated to combat the pesky bark beetle in the 3.16-million-acre Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) in western Colorado.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, approximately 140,000 acres of spruce-fir and 145,000 acres of aspen forests have experienced substantial mortality from insects and diseases over the past decade. Tree mortality has increased in recent years because of the bark beetle. The Forest Service says most trees attacked by the beetle "typically die and eventually fall to the ground, adding dead and dry fuels that increases wildfire hazard."
Current plans to reduce tree mortality, safety threats and fire hazard in stands already experiencing beetle-induced mortality involve removing dead and dying trees. The Forest Service says that in stands threatened by the beetle outbreak, "forest resiliency will be improved by reducing stand densities by promoting multi-storied stand structure. Pheromone spray treatments may be used in high value areas. Aspen stands where less than 50% of the root system has been affected by decline would be candidates for aspen regeneration treatments."
The forest agency is accepting comments until Aug. 30, in an effort to discover information that can aid in its project to "treat affected stands, improve the resiliency of stands at risk of these large-scale epidemics and reduce the safety threats of falling, dead trees and large-scale wildfires."
Learn more at about the GMUG project.
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