Determining Shelf Life of SB Killed Trees No Easy Formula
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.