I have lived in Southern California for thirty of my adult years. In the last decade I have witnessed the death of huge numbers of pines in the mountainous areas around the south of california, and in my recent travels throughout the northwest I have seen many more trees in most regions from San Diego to Seattle, even in our treasured Yosemite, ranging from showing brown patches that are the first sign of sickness, to entire hillsides covered in brown dead pine trees.
A permaculture approach might be to encourage bark beetle resistant species to replace the pines in their niche. With increasing temperatures, it seems that there might be a species that thrives in a warmer climate- broadleaf or evergreen- that will not be vulnerable to bark beetles. If so, wouldn't it be a good idea to preemptively sow a new generation of these trees among groves of pines that are showing signs of infestation? Then they would already be in sapling stage as the old generation finally succumbs, ready to form a new guild in the niche now being vacated.
Does anyone have ideas what species might work, and how to go about this? I will be probably be facing this challenge when I get my own land this year. Not to be impatient, but the life span of these trees exceeds the remainder of my own life expectancy, so I don't have much time for experiments. And the park service could use some help too.
I would like to hear everyone's thoughts on this.
Working toward a food forest and self sufficiency in Western Oregon.
Hal Hurst wrote: even in our treasured Yosemite, ranging from showing brown patches that are the first sign of sickness, to entire hillsides covered in brown dead pine trees.
Maybe the Forest Service/National Park website may have some information on what they are doing to prevent this. You might contact the Yosemte Forest Service Biologist, National Park Biologist or what ever that person might be called.
I lived in an area where this beetle was killing the pines, but no one was doing anything.
Invasive plants are Earth's way of insisting we notice her medicines.
Everyone learns what works by learning what doesn't work.
Just a couple of thoughts on this one. I used to see the die off as a bad thing...before I learned about hugels and fungi and permacultural things. Now I see it as mother natures way of improving the soil. This is happening all over Wyoming and Colorado too. As I look at our forests I notice that dead trees are falling, adding to the soil. There are some trees which did not die and may be some resistant strain? I also see young trees coming up ,including trees that were not there before such as aspen. So I think it may end up being good in the long run.
Now forest fires are much bigger and hotter and the forest service seems to be just letting them burn rather than fighting them. I am torn on this one, seeing the destruction that fires cause is more worrisome than seeing the dead trees. There are also places where the forest service has let folks go in and log the trees. I have spent some time in these logged areas and at first they look pretty bad but then the young trees come back very thick and strong and the beetles seem to bypass the young new trees. So just some observations, not sure what is right or wrong.