Beetle Killed Pine as a Resource
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Today, from expansive stands of dead pine forests a number of good uses for the harvest of these dead trees have been developed, ranging from furniture to flooring and firewood. This prematurely dead wood has a beautiful quality, which some woodworkers use in building gallery quality furnishings.
Let’s face the facts: any person’s spirit-lifting love for the pristine beauty of unblemished mountain pine forests has no doubt been dashed on those occasions when a mountainside shows nothing but dead forest land due to the infestation of the mountain pine beetle. Net effect from this continuing invasion – millions of acres of dead trees that will become incendiary fire hazards if left unchecked.
Today, from expansive stands of dead pine forests a number of good uses for the harvest of these dead trees have been developed, ranging from furniture to flooring and firewood. This prematurely dead wood has a beautiful quality, which some woodworkers use in building gallery quality furnishings. In addition, has also been used for structural beams and log homes. The list of structures built using beetle-kill pine includes everything from outhouses to garden sheds and benches.
These dead forests are also being considered as a viable source of biomass production that can be used to generate electricity. As Colorado Senator Mark Udall stated on his blog, “Wood is the most renewable resource we have and as an energy source, it’s carbon neutral. Biomass generators can efficiently turn dead trees into electricity for our homes and offices, and new technologies have shown the potential to turn biomass into liquid fuels.”
Much still needs to be done in directing this valuable resource into the energy or homebuilding supply chain.
Udall has called on Colorado homebuilders to use beetle-killed trees from our forests to build homes, clearing local forests of hazardous trees and creating homegrown jobs in the process. Of course, the economy needs to become more robust before widespread action like this can occur.
“This kind of outside-the-box thinking puts to good use the timber that would otherwise go to waste or even endanger our communities, and helps us rebuild Colorado’s economy,” Udall said.
Now that harvesting of this dead wood is beginning to expand, various trade organizations, such as the as the Colorado Beetle Kill Trade Association, are becoming active in addressing the numerous issues involved in managing the problem of dead forests.
The problem of dead trees is enormous. The epidemic is listed as starting in 1996. Unfortunately, the beetle’s death toll has not yet been stopped. The glass-half-full analogy fits here. Is beetle-killed pine a problem, or is it a resource?