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October 27, 2017 8:40 pm

Determining Shelf Life of SB Killed Trees No Easy Formula

Thursday, October 20, 2016 @ 3:35 PM

Prince George, B.C. -When  milk  goes bad, it’s a  result of  how long the  milk has been stored and the storage temperature.  Predicting how long a Spruce Beetle killed tree  is merchantable  is not that easy.“There are a lot of factors  at play” Dr. Kathy Lewis, Professor, Ecosystem Science and Management at the University of Northern B.C. told the  delegates  at the Spruce Beetle summit in Prince George.

She  had conducted  extensive research  during the mountain pine beetle epidemic, research  which she believes can be applied to the current Spruce Beetle epidemic.

“It’s not a matter of adding a best before date to the spruce trees that have been killed by these beetles” says Dr. Lewis.   She  says there are many factors  at play  to determine  shelf life  “Many of the complicating factors really don’t have  anything to do with what’s going on with the wood, they have a lot to  do with other factors” says Lewis.   “If you are hoping to get  Japanese grade  lumber out of  the dead trees, then I can say with some confidence you have a shelf life of about 6 months.  But if you are going  to make pulp, the whole picture is different.”

She says  operating costs, transportation  and  manufacturing  capabilities all play  a role in determining  how long a dead tree may  provide value.

Dr. Lewis says  because Spruce  grows in wetter areas,  she predicts  attacked dead  spruce will fall  over  sooner  than  was the case  with Mountain Pine Beetle  killed trees which  typically  started  to  fall  6 years after  death.

The impact of the Spruce Beetle  will play  a part in determining the  annual allowable cut,  a decision that  is supposed to be  released  this fall.  Spruce  was to play a role in the mid term timber supply  following the devastation of the mountain pine beetle epidemic.






The foresters warned back in the 90’s if the province didn’t address the pine beetle it would become an epidemic. Then they warned if the province allows us to just harvest the pine leaving pockets of spruce which will blow down anyways we will be susceptible to a spruce beetle problem! And what happened!!

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