I am writing a response to the article “Groups say they will sue to halt logging,” published in The Bulletin on Jan. 8. I’m not sure if these groups try to stop any type of management in our public forests, but I have been following this particular U.S. Forest Service plan, D-bug, for a while. D-bug is set to take place in the Umpqua National Forest in an area I have explored rather extensively.
I work as a contracted timber cruiser and have been measuring forest health all over Oregon, Idaho and Montana. When cruising for the Forest Service, the standard measurements are taken on timber such as diameter, height and physical defect, but also each sample tree is inspected for disease and parasites such as beetles. In my personal experience cruising public forests in the Rocky Mountains, the lodgepole pine species is being decimated by pine beetles and other parasites, creating a very unnatural forest habitat. The upland forests in the Diamond Lake area are also suffering from the same fate as the stands I have seen in Idaho and Montana.
The problem in this area is not just from parasites but also from overstocking of trees, especially lodgepole pine.
The average diameter of lodgepole pine in this area is relatively small, while the number of trees per acre of a given stand is extremely high for what a healthy mid-to-high elevation forest type should be. An active management approach is necessary in this particular area.