Western pine beetle infestation of a forest in Colorado leaves nearly every other tree reduced to dry tinder ready to spark a conflagration that incinerates the forest.
When the forest burns peoples’ lives and homes are destroyed, as shown in this photo of a section of the Mountain Shadows subdivision of Colorado Springs, Colorado destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire [click photo to enlarge]:
There is something interesting about the photo above. Some of the evergreen trees in the yards of the burned-out homes have been burned completely, leaving nothing but black skeletons. Others, however, appear to have smoke damage but didn’t burn. It’s likely that many of these trees will survive and nature will restore them to their former beauty. That means the green trees in the forest would have fared better as well is there had not been such a massive pine beetle infestation, or if the dead trees had been cleared out of the forest.
It costs millions of dollars to fight a fire the size of the Waldo Canyon fire, or the High Park fire in Northern Colorado. It would cost a lot to clear the forest of the beetle-infested trees as well, but that would likely be much less than the cost to fight the fires they cause. Espencially if one adds in the losses suffered by the people whose homes have been destroyed. Logging is also a way to clear the dead trees from the forest and that cost would be borne by private logging companies.
The beetle infestation has been further propelled by the increased density of the forest that has been occurring for decades. If the beetle infestation had been controlled so that there were fewer dead trees to remove, the cost comparison would be stark. It has been shown that DDT is effective in killing the western pine beetle, and would save thousands of trees.
The so-called Green movement is opposed to all of that and has waged a successful campaign, mainly in the courts, to halt all forest clearing operations that would lessen the impact of massive forest fires.
The arguments that the environmentalist extremists have used to justify their campaign are simply wrong. Worse, the show that these people do not love nature so much as they hate humanity. For example, in a legal brief filed August 29, 2011, on behalf of itself and several other groups, the South Dakota-based Friends of the Norbeck said:
Yes, bark beetles are killing many trees, but that won’t necessarily lead to large fires. Even if it did, there’s not much humans can do directly to forests to influence fire risk, except to begin reducing human causes of climatic change. Logging the forest will not significantly influence fire spread, and removal of dead trees has many negative impacts on forest ecosystems.
That statement is no more than the diabolical incantations of a deranged mind. Climate change? How far can they go in blaming everything on that? Negative impacts from removing dead trees? Nonsense. Just what those negative impacts might be is never specified, because there aren’t any. In fact, when done properly logging leads to a healthier forest that is less dense and less infested with bugs and disease.
This May another group, the allied “Native Forest Council” issued a statement saying,
Insects, fire and disease are part of nature. They keep our Commonwealth of forests healthy and alive. They did so until the white man came and began liquidating them, using them up because they were there. Nature’s insect, fire and disease don’t destroy forests. Man, chainsaws and greed destroy forests. Man, scientists, even foresters have never grown a forest, let alone a “like kind or better” forest. They don’t know how. They never have and they never will.
Robert Zubrin, Incinerating America’s West, responds today to such leftist-environmentalist illogic:
The illogic of the antihuman sentiments behind these, and endless numbers of similar statements put forth by the beetle’s Green apologists over the past decade, is incredible. Limited harvesting that would save the forest (and incidentally reduce damage to forests elsewhere, such as the Amazon, by driving down the global price of wood) is to be shunned — precisely because it would create jobs, useful products, and commerce. At the same time, vast depredations that destroy tens of millions of acres of wild habitat, kill countless numbers of terrified animals in the most horrible way, and throw millions of tons of smoke, pine-tar gas, and other pollutants into the atmosphere are discounted as irrelevant and unimportant by those who claim to care so deeply for nature and all its creatures.
Mr. Zubrin posits that today the so-called environmental green movement is, no matter what it may have formerly constituted, no more than a pretext for something entirely different:
To those seeking environmental pretexts for enhanced control over society, all changes to nature effected by humans, no matter how beneficial, must be portrayed as criminal. Thus global warming and carbon dioxide emissions are denounced, despite the fact that they lengthen the growing season, increase rainfall, and accelerate plant growth. Thus no actions may be taken to save the forests.
By the light of a burning wildness the truth may be perceived. The purpose of the green prosecution is not to protect nature, but to put shackles on humankind.
Like watermelons, they are green on the outside and commie red on the inside.