Spoiler alert: the bug has already won.
KW reported this morning that an additional 11,000 acres of Ponderosa pine in the occupied Black Hills have been harvested by the mountain pine beetle.
The good news is that as those thousands of acres die the water table may begin to recharge against the demands of additional white people as they build more crap in the Hills.
The bad news is that as those trees decay, methane (an even greater accelerant of anthropogenic warming than Kristi Noem's 'gas of life'), just contributes to the hemispheric catastrophe already underway.
Paha Sapa, having never been glaciated, represents the heart of the continent. She boasts one of the oldest habitats for the hardy insect which had blown in from points west and north and managed second-growth for countless centuries before humans began burning stands to encourage bison and wapiti to browse aspen shoots at least 11,000 years ago.
The first Forest Service timber sale in its history took place near near Nemo: Case #1; that's when BHNF ceased being a wild thing.
Now the wind that blows through the West reeks of death and desecration. The stench of the wasicu wafts from the bores that pump into her and the shovels that scrape her flesh then bleed her entrails into the kill floor drain.
Spruce beetle activity in Engelmann spruce was detected on 262,000 acres in Colorado and 76,000 acres in Wyoming in 2011. Since 1996, spruce beetle has affected 1.2 million acres in Colorado and Wyoming; now, it is established in the Northern Hills.
Of course, it's all well and good blaming us in the environmental community as the easiest course of action because we hate white people with Rs after their names even though congressional gridlock on climate change is the real problem.
Taking all but the legacy pine would slow the decimation that white people have visited upon the aquifers and burning would allow the sequestration of carbon deep underground. LawCo should just create a mile-wide buffer at its borders with Counties Pennington and Meade, Crook and Weston in Wyoming, then take every Pinus ponderosa younger than a hundred years because the Central Hills is a conflagration looking for a match then let Rocky Mountain Juniper regain her southwestern flank.
Bug-hit, fungi-stained trees are generally considered salvage: for some stumpage guidelines click here.
Bovine antibiotics are detected in every watershed draining the Black Hills hydrologic region disrupting and strangling essential fungal communities.
Oh, and you praying people living in western Custer and Pennington Counties? You'd best be getting to it.
Shaka, when the walls fell.
When you lose trees, you also lose water
Aspen, chokecherry, hazelnut, and oak will replace the pine monoculture.
So the health of the ecosystem is only improving.And if we were as motivated as the natives once were we would tend this area to our own food needs as well.
The region is broken.
In my view that's why the Forest Service should come out of the USDA and BHNF should be moved into the BIA Forestry Division in cooperation with the Park Service.
This just came over my twitter feed:
"SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A new study documents a loss of 1.3 million acres of grassland over a five-year period in the Western Corn Belt - a rate not seen since the 1920s and 1930s." Dirk Lammers, AP
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