Bark beetles.

Here in the Harz, especially in the National Park, we have quite some bark beetle troubles. There are just so many dead trees, because of the spruce monoculture left behind by the once sprawling mining industry in the area.

Back in the day, the miners needed loads of wood for their mining operations. They escpecially needed that wood to support all the mine shafts that were dug out in the area. Since they needed so much wood, reforestation became necessary in some areas where the natural mixed woods were replaced with fast growing spruce trees.

(Dead trees on the shorelines of the Oderteich.)

Since spruce isn’t native to the area it has no real defences against the bark beetles commonly found in the area. Once a single tree is infected, the trees around it are highly likely to get infected as well. And because all that is happening in a National Park were there aren’t many access roads it’s not easy to combat the beetle. Also, since it’s a National Park, you can’t just go around cutting down trees.

(More dead trees at the Teich.)

The best strategy against the bark beetle is to leave it no room to breed. It usually does that in standing dead or fallen trees and rests of harvestet trees. Once the beatles start breeding, they fly around to find other trees to lay their eggs on. The maggots than drill between the wood and the bark and damage the tree, often to it’s death. Off course nature is protected in the National Park, so you also can’t run around removing dead and fallen trees all the time, as such activities would disturb nature.

(More trees.)

Now I come to the spruce monoculture in the Harz again: The longtearm goal of the National Park is it, to form the woods in the area to a more natural system by leaving them mostly to them selves, except were hiking paths or streets are involved. And the bark beetle is actually helping quite a bit, with nature taking care of the dead trees and new trees growing in between the dead the forest is on a good way to become more natural again, but it will definetly take a while for nature to do it’s thing.

(You can actually see nature recoup in these images.)

So you’ll see quite a few dead trees in the Harz when you drive through the area in the next years. Just remember, it’s all for the greater good, which is a more natural forest in the high lying areas of the National Park. In the low lying areas, the bark beetle is actually beeing comabted to prevent it’s spread into economically used parts of the Harz.

Sources (most in German): https://www.landesforsten.de/nlf-spezial/borkenkaefer/ https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wissen/nationalpark-umwelt-oekologie-harz-borkenkaefer-wald-1.4486490 https://www.nationalpark-harz.de/de/aktuelles/2019/2019_04_23_Borkenkaefer/

4 thoughts on “Bark beetles.”

  1. We have a similar problem here in British Columbia where the pine bark beetle attacked. It was “natural” so no steps were taken to combat it. Millions of hectare of dead trees later we have massively devastating forest fires to contend with because our forest are tinder-dry standing dead timber.
    How well do you like your 55-250 lens? I am thinking of adding one to my Canon outfit.

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      1. I did read that post as well; it makes me think the lens would be a good choice for me.
        In 2017 the wildfires took out 1.2 million hectares here! Yes, we have big forests and they are largely dead.

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      2. It is so sad to see all the forests die. And then the fires. How is it this year? Last time I’ve been was March 2015, and they were already reporting fires back then, while I still had tons of snow in Blue River.

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