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Beetle-killed spruce on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Beetle killed spruce treesBackground:

An ongoing spruce bark beetle epidemic has killed large volumes of spruce trees on the Chugach National Forest. Conditions are now ripe for stand replacement fires on thousands of acres spanning diverse land ownership on the Kenai. Resource managers want to know how much of potential restoration costs could be offset by utilizing the dead resource.

 

Issues:

Finding opportunities to utilize dead and dying spruce trees in ways that would fill a niche in the Alaskan economy and promote community stability while improving ecological integrity.

Graded boards

Technical Focus:

Suitability of the dead and dying resource was evaluated for a variety of products: lumber, veneer, house logs and pulp chips.

 

Findings:

Value of the resource decreases rapidly following death by beetle attack. Althugh dead trees have significantly less value for lumber and veneer than do live trees, a large percentage of dead trees are suitable for log home manufacturers. These can be used locally with technology appropriate to skills and financial resources of local businesses. Pulp and paper properties were still of an acceptable quality for dead spruce.


Collaborators: USFS Region 10, R10 State and Private, Chugach NF, Seward RD, University of Alaska, State of Alaska Division of Forestry, Kenai Peninsula Borough, USDA Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI, Young and Morgan (Seward Forest Products, Green Veneer) and PNW Research Station, Portland, OR.

Contacts: Eini C. Lowell, PNW Station (503) 808-2072