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DEC Announces Demonstration Forest Project to Combat Southern Pine Beetle Infestation on Long Island

Discussion in 'Forestry and Logging Forum' started by PhilMcWoody, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. PhilMcWoody

    PhilMcWoody Recharging Battery

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    from
    http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/108868.html


    DEC Announces Demonstration Forest Project to Combat Southern Pine Beetle Infestation on Long Island

    Long Island Research Project is Part of DEC's Efforts to Combat Spread of Southern Pine Beetle
    As part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) aggressive efforts to combat the spread of the invasive Southern Pine Beetle, DEC will soon begin conducting ecological forest operations on Rocky Point Pine Barrens State Forest, DEC announced today.

    "The Southern Pine Beetle poses a threat to Long Island's Pine Barrens and DEC is actively fighting to protect the area from these destructive pests," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "By thinning a portion of this forest, which represents one of DEC's largest land holdings in the Pine Barrens region, we are potentially saving thousands of trees from this invasive insect."

    Southern Pine Beetle Management Plan Implementation
    The ecological research operation was made possible by a $34,900 grant from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

    DEC staff began investigating potential solutions to battle Southern Pine Beetle on its Rocky Point Preserve Property after a small infestation was found on the 6,000-acre Rocky Point Pine Barrens State Forest in 2015.

    The project will be conducted over a 27-acre area. Nine acres will serve as a control, where no treatment is administered. The other 18 acres will be thinned according to silvicultural guidelines. The area will be broken up into three blocks of three-acre sections. Each block will receive different treatments in order to determine their effectiveness. The three treatment options are: control, thinning, and thinning and burning.

    The plan, which was developed by DEC and USFS foresters, will selectively remove varying amounts of pitch pine, scarlet, and white oak trees throughout the three-acre blocks. This is intended to give the remaining trees more access to sunlight and nutrients, allowing them to gain strength and better fight off the invading beetle. Each block will be analyzed to determine which block was the most effective in resisting Southern Pine Beetle attacks.

    Ecological forest operations are regularly conducted on DEC-managed forests throughout the state by private contractors to achieve different resource objectives, including invasive species management.

    Currently, DEC is searching for an eligible timber management company to implement the selective management of trees on the approximately 18-acre parcel in need of thinning. All work by private contractors will be conducted under DEC supervision to ensure that only trees previously marked for harvesting will be taken down.

    Work on the project is expected to start in early January 2017.

    Past Efforts
    Following the discovery of Southern Pine Beetle in October 2014, DEC initiated a rapid response plan in cooperation with the USFS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Central Pine Barrens Commission, and Long Island municipalities to further define the extent of the Southern Pine Beetle infestation and to implement scientifically based management strategies to combat this forest pest.

    The accepted and most effective method of minimizing the spread of Southern Pine Beetle includes cutting infested trees and thinning surrounding forested areas. Thinned forests enable individual trees to better defend themselves against beetle attacks. Left untreated, Southern Pine Beetle can move swiftly to nearby forested areas. As part of the response plan, several agencies began tree-cutting operations in order to reduce additional damage to the region's unique Pine Barrens habitat.

    Since that time, DEC's forestry experts and partners have initiated properly planned management activities using the best available science at several key sites including Henrys Hollow Pine Barrens State Forest/Suffolk County's Munn's Pond County Park, cutting nearly 2,500 infected pine trees to suppress the infestation, as well as implementing similar management activities at Hubbard County Park, Munn's Pond County Park, and the Bellows Pond area. These initial operations were largely successful, with only limited spread of the insect beyond the boundaries of the cut areas. However, ongoing monitoring by DEC and partners has identified additional forested areas threatened by the beetle and in need of management.

    Southern Pine Beetle Background
    The Southern Pine Beetle, a bark beetle native to the southern United States, has steadily expanded its range north and west, possibly due to climate change. It is considered one of the most destructive forest pests in the United States and attacks all species of pine including pitch pine, the predominant species found in the Long Island Pine Barrens. Prior to its discovery on Long Island, it had reached as far north as New Jersey, devastating nearly 50,000 acres of Pine Barrens in that state. An estimated 1,000 new acres of pine forests in New Jersey have been destroyed each year by the beetle since it was found in that state in 2001.

    Adult beetles bore into the bark of trees laying eggs in S-shaped tunnels just beneath the bark. This disrupts the flow of nutrients, killing the tree in typically two to four months. Insecticides have been shown to be mostly ineffective against Southern Pine Beetle and are a threat to the sole source drinking water aquifer.

    What You Can Do
    DEC urges the public to report any recently dead pine they encounter in the Long Island area, especially if there are several trees grouped together. Sightings should be reported to the Forest Health Diagnostic Lab through the toll-free information line, 1-866-640-0652 or by email, foresthealth@dec.ny.gov. If possible, reports via email should include photos of the trees and close-ups of any damage. An added item in the photo for scale, such as a penny, aids with identification.

    A Southern Pine Beetle fact sheet with photos and information related to the recent areas of discovery are available on DEC's website.
     
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  2. newforest

    newforest ArboristSite Member

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    What would the stand composition levels of Scarlet and White Oak have to do with SPB?

    I thought the recent increased variability of the jet stream and the regular visits by the 'Polar Vortex' cold-air masses the last few winters had probably pushed the Southern Pine Beetle back ... towards the South. i.e. has it still been problematic in New Jersey lately? That's no reason not to prepare for it coming back farther north though.

    I like doing Pre-Commercial Thinning work in the southern states sometimes, much of which is driven by government funding aimed at reducing the damage from Southern Pine Beetle. What always struck me as sad was how many of the stands needing Pre-Commercial Thinning were actually planted to pine with no concern or understanding of natural regeneration - thus making the stands more susceptible to SPB attack. But I'm just some grimy old woods stomper that runs a dibble bar or a saw, watching millions of seedlings and millions of 1-2" dbh trees get cut, so what do I know compared to an air-conditioned Forester who would rather be fidgeting with the GIS than walking across one of my jobsites?
     
  3. SliverPicker

    SliverPicker ArboristSite Guru

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    The author of the article states that the Southern Pine Beetle is both invasive and native. That's a pretty neat trick.
     
  4. madhatte

    madhatte It's The Water Staff Member

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    It's not that weird. Here, for example, Douglas-fir is both native and invasive... when it colonizes prairies. It's not invasive at all in forests. So, you have to keep context in mind.
     
  5. SliverPicker

    SliverPicker ArboristSite Guru

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    In my view, if an organism evolved in a certain region it is not invasive there no matter it's behavior.
     
  6. madhatte

    madhatte It's The Water Staff Member

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    Thing is that land managers have ideas of what land is "supposed to be", and if a native species is in the "wrong" place, they want it gone. I've burned plenty of prairie firs under that logic. That is to say, this is a human issue rather than an ecological one.
     
  7. muddstopper

    muddstopper Addicted to ArboristSite

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    When I was growing up, we used to cut tons of beetle pine. Only method I saw that prevented spread was a complete clearcut border around the dead and dieing trees. If you just cut or thin the dead trees, the beetles would just attack the next nearest tree. If brush from a dead tree was left around a live tree, that live tree would soon be dead also. I often visit areas that I cut beetle killed pine 40-50 years ago. The stumps and brush are long gone, but you can see a visible difference in appearance where we clear cut and the areas adjacent to the clear cuts. While the clear cut sites have all grown back now, the timber just seems to be bigger and better than the areas that where not cut. My BIL works for the US forest service and used to be a timber marker. He retires end of this month. He claims the biggest cause of the spread of beetle pine is the forest service spending months of study before releaseing a site to be cut. By the time they decide there is a problem, and plan a way to combat the problem, the trees are dead and decayed to the point there is no value in the timber. The beetles have also spread to every mountain top around and are out of control.Then they have to do a similar study on each new site before doing anything. EPA and Enviromentalist working trying to justify their jobs by doing to many studies and not enough actions. If they would just go in and clear cut the area when the beetles are first found, they could prevent the spread before it gets out of hand.
     
  8. newforest

    newforest ArboristSite Member

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    re: Southern Pine Beetle I just wanted to note that my comment on doing saw work related to it is doing - "Pre-Commercial" thinning, as in cutting small trees that don't yet have $$ value. The idea is to bring a young stand back to a better, lower density, to keep the trees from getting overly stressed by competition for water and nutrients, so their natural bug defenses work better. From what I understand, in bigger timber, the best solution is indeed to clear-cut and start over. I work in USFS contracting a lot and I can only imagine the chaos involved in them deciding what to do about beetles - see next paragraph

    re: Native Invasives - this is indeed a crazy concept. In my opinion. It flows from certain theories of Ecology, that certain states of a forest are better than others. I have done a job that mostly involved cutting Red Maple because it was labelled "Invasive". Basically it was a farm field a long time ago, adjacent to a stand of mature Oaks. Naturally, the wind-driven-seed of the early successional species came in and colonized the field extensively, much better than the Oaks were able to. The "Nature Center" that ended up controlling the property decided that the Red Maple was invasive because it was inhibiting the regeneration of the Oaks. Really what was happening was the people in charge were just being extremely impatient. Leave the whole place alone for many decades or a century and lightning struck fires would eventually produce a stand of climax Oaks on the old field portion as well. But they wanted Oaks, and they wanted them now.

    Ironically, (stupidly), this site was in a suburban area, and though they put a strange premium on Oaks because everyone knows critters eat acorns and thus Oaks are Best, they also told me they did not want to encourage the deer population in the area, because it was already too high.

    From where I see projects, being the person that does the work on the project, not the person that plans the project, there is a big over-attachment to old-growth, stagnant forest conditions as being the absolute best possible conditions. And anything that happened to move a piece of woods away from those conditions must be changed - Ecology must be "Restored" by changing the conditions, again.
     

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