Timber Tour Reveals Dramatic Effects Years after Columbia
Mike Johnson, Forest entomologist, WA DNR sampling tasty Mountain pine
Dayton, Columbia County
The Dayton Field Office and Blue Mountain RC&D field local questions on tree
health and mortality. Forest Service and Washington Department of Natural
Resources entomologists travel to the region to identify, explain and offer
management options to landowners faced with stressed and dying trees.
NRCS Dayton Field Office, USDA Forest Service
Columbia Complex Fire (109,000 acres) in 2006 damaged and killed thousands of
board feet of timber. It also stressed many more forest acres, allowing forest
pests and disease to affect trees. Professional advice was directed at
landowners to manage for secondary effects to their timber, recover value and
Professional advice was utilized from Forest Entomologists and Forest
Pathologists from USDA Forest Service and Washington Department of Natural
Resources and NRCS forester. Knowledge and identification of tree conditions was
Landowners visited sites in Columbia County with dead and dying trees. Forest
pests and disease responsible for timber demise were identified and management
strategies discussed. The number one management action was to keep forest stands
thinned out. Overcrowding trees increases the opportunity for pests to migrate
from tree to tree. Increased stand densities force trees to compete for
nutrients, sunlight and most important, water. Additional concerns include
excessive dust from forest roads and construction threatens trees. Drift of
agricultural pesticides kills predatory wasps, who protect trees from black pine
leaf scale in Ponderosa pine. Avoid piling wood following stand improvement
activities (thinning) near residual trees. To combat the Ips beetle, avoid
forest thinning activities during January - July when forest pests are feeding.
Dead Ponderosa pine at Paul Gibbons place, Wolf Fork Road
Forest landowners impacted by recent wildfires have the knowledge and have
practiced identification skills of forest pests and disease in their timber.
Forest landowners are better prepared to make management decisions about their
timber and forest land to reap the highest values, protect resource values and
ensure long term sustainability of their land.
Lisa Naylor, NRCS, Dayton Field Office (509) 382-8968, ext. 3