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Letter to the Editor: Manti-Lasal beetle infestation


The Manti-LaSal National Forest is being over run by the Western Pine Beetle. There is evidence of considerable study about the beetle.

Some studies claim the beetle infestation is normal and nothing should be done to control their attack on the pine forest in the Manti-LaSal National Forest.

It has been stated "the beetle will breed and kill scattered, overmature, slow-growing, decadent, or diseased trees". Having that knowledge, a beetle trap may have been designed and used similar to the current fly or wasp traps used today.

Further, it is viewed that in most studies, people are not a part of nature but simple observers; therefore, it appears their needs were not considered in these studies.

The folks conducting these studies can identify the "scattered, overmature, slow-growing, decadent, or diseased trees." In doing so, those trees might have been selected for harvesting and the branches shredded and remain in the forest as ground cover along with some specially placed nonshredded limbs.

As the personnel and equipment moved out of an area---grass, ground cover and/or new trees might have been selectively planted. This would have begun new growth, afford minimum erosion, and provide a more healthy and vibrant forest.

The forest might have returned to full growth in 50-100 years. If the way of beetles is to continue, the forest might return to full growth in 200-300 years.

There will also be a good chance of forest fires and serious erosion issues. This could leave our reservoirs open to receive an over abundance of sediment and debris requiring the need for more frequent dredging.

Some questions I have include:

1) Why were attempts not made to control the Western Pine Beetle during their early infestation of the forest?

2) While it appears most or all of the pine trees in the Manti-LaSal Forest are infested. It appears as though the Manti-LaSal forest meets the requirements for invasion by the Western Pine Beetle and if so� Why was the forest not selectively harvested before the beetle infestation?

3) Now that the forest is infested with the Western Pine Beetle�What is being done to prevent further spread of the beetle?

4) What is the percentage of chance for having a large forest fire by lightning strike over a healthy well-maintained forest?

5) With the trees dead by beetle infestation�How will this effect wild life?

6) With the trees dead by beetle infestation�How will this effect soil erosion?

Common sense must be brought to this issue of the Western Pine Beetle infestation.

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