FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2011
Western Spruce Budworm damage intensifies in parts of Washington
Survey and trapping efforts currently underway for 2011
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the USDA Forest Service are currently monitoring the Western Spruce Budworm to see how many acres of Washington’s forests have been defoliated by this insect.
“As a pilot I see first-hand the huge area of damaged trees when I fly over the Cascade Mountains. Surveying our forests for defoliating insects helps us provide information to landowners, determine what management is needed to improve forest health, and reduce the threat of costly wildfires,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.
The western spruce budworm is a native forest insect that eats new growth from Douglas-fir and grand fir trees in eastern Washington. It takes several consecutive years of defoliation before top kill (usually 3 years) or mortality (usually 4 or more years) occurs.
Currently, an outbreak of the western spruce budworm is active on the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains north of I-90. Many defoliated trees are visible because of missing or reddish, partially eaten needles. In some places, where defoliation has occurred for many years, top-killed and dead trees are visible. The outbreak also is just starting in some parts of eastern Okanogan, Ferry and Stevens Counties.
Although budworm populations increase and decrease on natural cycles, this outbreak cycle may be more intense due, in part, to forests being out of balance. Past forest management practices and successful fire suppression have allowed Douglas-fir and grand fir to flourish in many dry forests where pine and larch (which are not food for budworms) should dominate.
Maps and trapping data from 2010 can be viewed in DNR’s annual Forest Health Highlights report.
DNR’s Forest Health Program and Washington State University’s Forestry Extension program conduct workshops across the state to educate citizens about western spruce budworm and other forest health conditions. Upcoming workshops in Mazama and Tonasket will help landowners understand how to evaluate their forests and reduce problems caused by forest insects, disease and wildfire. http://ext.wsu.edu/forestry/documents/ForestHealthWkshp2011es_000.pdf
The Forest Stewardship Program
Washington’s Department of Natural Resources, with financial support from the U.S. Forest Service, provides forest management advice and financial assistance to small family forest owners. This assistance helps landowners to reduce the risk of wildfire and to improve fish and wildlife habitat, forest health, and timber growth. Landowners of five or more forested acres may request information and assistance by emailing email@example.com or contacting the Forest Stewardship Program Coordinator at any DNR Region Office.
Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Community Outreach and Education, 360-902-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org
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