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Forest protection is action taken to defend your forest or woodland against potential enemies, including vertebrate pest animals, diseases, fires, insects, and humans . Silviculture is the art and science of producing and tending a forest. Forest protection can be visualized as one leg of an imaginary “silviculture stool”. The two other legs are regeneration and intermediate cuttings—for example, liberation cutting, thinning, improvement cutting, and pruning.
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The overall strength of the stool is governed by the strength of the individual legs. Hence, inadequate protection can lead to below-par performance or even to the collapse of a silvicultural program. For example, incomplete restocking of cutover forest land may be the consequence of the woodland manager’s inattention to local deer populations. Forest protection consists of a series of activities that support one or more of the following objectives.
• Maximize production of sound wood
• Minimize negative effects of soil disturbance (compaction, erosion)
• Preserve appropriate wildlife habitat
• Sustain desired water quality
• Maintain an attractive forest environment’
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A look back
Forest protection is fundamental to sound management. It can even be pictured as the rock on which the rest of management is perched. As a woodland manager, you should know that history records the importance placed on forest resources by other people at other times. You can affect the protection of these resources in the future by your actions today. In many instances, our finite renewable forest resources, coupled with rapidly increasing demands, have produced—and will continue to produce—a “need-to-
legislate” response in order to protect them.
Organized forest protection in the United States apparently had its beginnings in 1743. The State of New York passed a law that gave anyone who discovered a fire (in one of several specified areas) the authority “to require and command” anybody insight to help put it out. There was a monetary fine for neighbors who objected—or who weren’t too quick about helping.
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Fire had been identified as a threat to the nation’s forests. More than 200 years were to pass before other destructive agents were officially recognized. It was not until the passage of the Forest Pest Control Act on June 25, 1947 that a cooperative program of protection against destructive forest diseases and insects was launched. This act declared it to be the policy of the federal government to protect all forest land from threats, regardless of ownership. It authorized the Secretary of
• Conduct surveys
• Identify infestations
• Determine appropriate control measures and implement them against outbreaks as warranted
• Carry out these activities either directly or in cooperation with other federal agencies, state and local agencies, private organizations, and individuals The Forest Pest Control Act forms the basis of most of our current government efforts to control forest disease and insect problems.
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The forests and the woodlands of Oregon are literally crawling with insects. Most species are not harmful to forest trees—in fact, many species, such as pollinators and predators, are highly beneficial. Some insects are of minor consequence; they produce no significant injury and have a little economic impact.
Some species of forest insects, however, can seriously damage Oregon’s commercial timber. Much of the timber value of individual woodland properties has, in some cases, been damaged severely. The direct volume loss from these insects is estimated at 3.7 billion board feet annually in Oregon alone (Figure 3)—and this does not include the consequences of increased fire hazard, loss of wildlife habitat and recreational values, or damage to watersheds. Insects, as a group, attack virtually all parts of the tree at all growth stages. Some of the damage is obvious, as with defoliatedtors (needle eaters). Other damage may be less visible, especially if it’s caused by wood-boring insects that feed under the bark.
Individual insect species feed on specific portions of the tree and, in many cases, are specific about the tree they’ll attack. For example, the Douglas-fir tussock moth, a defoliator, won’t
feed on ponderosa pine. To identify the insect pest involved (Table 1), first identify the host tree and the parts of the tree being attacked.
In general, insects experience several stages of development (Figure 4, page 6). Some species, such as beetles and moths, have four stages: egg, larva (grub, caterpillar), pupa (resting stage), and adult. This transition is called complete metamorphosis. Other species, such as aphids and ter mites, go through three stages of development, sometimes called incomplete metamorphosis: egg, nymph (immature stage), and adult. It’s the larvae or nymphs that most often cause damage to trees. They feed on the cambium, foliage, roots, seeds, soft shoots, and twigs. Adult insects are involved primarily with reproduction. They can cause damage in their nest-building activities, such as constructing egg tunnels under the bark (bark beetles) or actually mining the inside of the foliage in order to lay their eggs (certain leaf and needle miners). Some adult insects—the gypsy moth, for example—do not feed. Thorough knowledge of the methods by which various species feed is important to implement proper control measures.
• Chewing insects, such as bark beetles
and defoliator larvae, eat portions of the
• Sucking insects—aphids, for example—
simply remove the juices from the plant.