Forest Health Protection
1720 Peachtree Road, NW
Room 816 N
Atlanta, GA 30309
Phone: (404) 347-7478
Fax: (404) 347-1880
Southern Pine Beetle Suppression
- Southern pine
beetles (SPB) are primarily aggregated within expanding infestations.
Prompt suppression of these infestations is an important component of
SPB integrated pest management.
- Suppression is
effective in reducing resource loss. On the National Forests in Texas
in the 1990s, SPB affected almost 8,000 acres of susceptible host type
in areas where suppression was implemented, or 1.8% of the total area.
In contrast, over 13,000 acres were infested in wilderness, or over
40% of the susceptible host type.
- The two primary
methods of SPB suppression, cut-and-remove and cut-and-leave, require
tree-felling, limiting their application in sensitive areas. These methods
also require the felling of a buffer of uninfested trees in front of
the expanding infestation.
- In the absence
of SPB suppression, large-scale pine mortality occurs, destroying endangered
species habitat, recreation opportunities, timber and other property
values. Affected areas require expensive and extensive restoration efforts.
The dead trees also create additional risks/hazards for human safety,
wildfire, and utility line services.
- Currently it takes
an average of at least 10 days between detection and suppression for
cut-and-leave treatments, while cut-and-remove treatments typically
require over 3 weeks.
- FHP provides suppression
funds to the National Forests, other Federal lands, and to the states
for SPB detection and suppression. These funds are vital in reducing
tree loss, protecting habitat, and minimizing additional fuel loads.
- Conservative estimates
place the benefit/cost of SPB suppression between 3:1 and 10:1.
- FHP works with
the NFs to coordinate and facilitate their SPB suppression activities.
FHP provides input on the necessary environmental analyses and technical
assistance on SPB suppression in sensitive areas.
- The new Southern
Pine Beetle Information System (SPBIS) will enable the NFs to track
and coordinate suppression, ensuring that all infestations are monitored
and treated if needed.
- FHP supports technology
development projects designed to find new methods of suppression that
1) do not require tree-felling, 2) limit the number of uninfested trees
included in the treatment, or 3) are intended to reduce area-wide SPB
- FHP is working
with the NFs and the states to develop new instruments to expedite SPB
suppression. FHP also is actively involved in the development of new
opportunities and outlets for woody materials so that loggers and resources
will be available when SPB outbreaks occur.
- On National Forest
System (NFS) land, the SPB cut and remove suppression tactic is handled
through a timber sale contract. Because expanding SPB infestations behave
similarly to wildfire, timber sale contracts may not be the most effective
tool for cut and remove suppression operations. The delays inherent
in the required sale preparation, advertising, and contract regulations
result in undesirable and avoidable tree losses and SPB population growth.
- Better tools would
make SPB suppression a more efficient and effective process. FHP in
R8 is working with Forest Management to implement other tools that may
be more effective, such as increased direct Ranger sales and area-wide
- Expedited NEPA
documentation such as use of the new categorical exclusions should be
allowed when SPB outbreaks suddenly occur to permit rapid suppression
and prevent tree loss.
- Many experts have
suggested that reducing over wintering SPB populations may have a pronounced
impact on infestation levels the following spring and summer. Stewardship
contracts or area-wide contracts are needed for the detection and treatment
of SPB infested trees in the fall and winter.
- New methods of
suppressing infestations in sensitive areas are needed.
- FHP must increase
its efforts to press the need for expedited SPB suppression within the
FS and to the public.
- FHP must continue
to support and fund SPB prevention activities, reducing the need for
- FHP should continue
to assist in the development of new suppression techniques.
Homer Garrison Federal Building
701 N. First Street
Lufkin, TX 75901