Pretty incredible to see first hand the damage one tiny beetle can do. The warmer winters are favouring the Mountain Pine Beetle and it's really taking a toll here right in Jasper. At Whistler's campground, where we are, I'd say about 1/3 trees are gone already. Pretty crazy.
The picture is a model of a mountain pine beetle found in our Syncrude Environment Gallery!
An interesting fact about mountain pine beetles: The larvae are protected from cold, winter temperatures by tree bark. They can withstand temperatures -35°C for several days.
Explore #myTWOSE !
Visited Mt. Rushmore today and happened through during a Native American Ritual hoop dance (I even got to participate!!) The dancers were three sisters, Chieftains Daughters of a local Lakota tribe. They explained how the hoop was symbolic to them as a representation of the horizon, where land meets sky. They dance within it to honor the idea that without either of these things we cannot survive. Did you know that the Black Hills National Forest is under attack? Neither did I.... but many parts are being ravaged by the mountain pine beetle and thousands of trees have died. While it, in fact, is native to the area many species that cause such outbreaks are not. The Natives of this land believed in reducing their impact on Nature so that the next four generations could prosper as they had. Many people emulate this idea in modern times with the concept of Leave No Trace. But there is more to that concept than just trash removal and disposal and it is there that most people stop its practice. Often times, infestations occur because an insect traveled in fire wood from one state to another. While you may not be leaving behind any trash.... there are many other ways our presence alone can impact and potentially harm an environment. Be mindful and in doing so honor the land that provides for us so that our children's children will be able to still call Gaia home. #obligatoryselfie#nativeamerican#mindfulness#hoopdance#travelgram#leavenottrace#mountrushmore#blackelkpeak#nationalparks#americathebeautifulpass#mountainpinebeetle#sacredspaces
The pine forests of western North America have suffered massive losses in the last 20 years, as a warming climate has lead to the mountain pine beetle epidemic that has affected 60 million acres of forest from New Mexico through British Columbia*. I got an up close look at this in the San Juan National Forest, where entire mountainsides are covered with the gray of dead pines. The epidemic has reached its peak in this region, largely because few vulnerable trees remain. After wildfires sweep through these veritable tinder boxes, slowly but surely the ecosystem finds a new equilibrium. The underbrush flourishes with grasses, shrubs, glorious displays of wildflowers, and even a few young pines. This is an example of a ecosystem readjusting from a serious tip in its balance, and is an insight into what is possible in the age of a rapidly changing climate. *"The Bug that's Eating the Woods", Hillary Rosner, National Geographic (@natgeo), April 2015
Not all is green and golden in the Rockies. But in a sad, Land of Mordor kind of way, even these gray pines have a strange beauty.
I'm neither a forester nor a phytologist, so I'll leave the species identification to others. .
And an hour of online reading about the mountain beetle infestation in the western forests of North America showed me the complexities of related problems and policies.
So. I'll post a couple of pictures (swipe left, to see right) that to me are beautiful and I'll simply say this - for now.
We use these lands and forests; we influence those who make land use and forestry policies; we live with the resulting regulations. Let's participate in the process and do our part, whatever we choose that to be. It's about more than just a beetle.
Day 1 of the WFGA/CFGA Forest Genetics 2017 Conference: @catsloveemmanuel and I sat through four talks about genetics that we didn't understand but still learned about advancements in tree improvement. We also got some dope socks and a ton of food. We're the youngest attendees and I could not be more excited for the rest of the conference!
I have to admit I was a little bit apprehensive about heading back to beetle work after having only been home for three weeks, but sussing out our package and looking at a 51 tree plot card with a 28dbh has got me stoked. My saw is hungry and my body is craving movement! #woodslife#forestry#mountainpinebeetle#longlivehusqvarna