Succumbing to nature’s twist of fate

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I took this photo up on our mountain property in the northwest part of Colorado where we have about four acres. We have a lot of trees and boulders and the scenery is beautiful, but in the last several years the pine beetle has destroyed much of the area’s trees in our mountains west of here, and elsewhere throughout the Colorado Rockies. The pine beetle eats through the bark into the interior of the tree until much of the tree has rotted so bad from the infestation it will crack and split open, fall over and roots dry up never to produce again. The beetles will move from tree to tree in close proximity and spread across an entire section. In large sections where the disease has spread the trees have to be cut down and the wood removed or burned to prevent it from spreading to healthy trees. Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park has a lot of dense tree sections where they have done this. Even the healthiest and most beautiful trees in the forests can become victims to this disease. More information on this can be found here.

We found this tree split and fallen over from the spread of the disease before it could be cut down with the chain saw used to thin out the trees when they get too thick, or die off. The pine beetles chewed right through it until it could no longer stand on its own. Looking at the wood closely we could see the tiny burrowing holes in it made by the pine beetle. There was nothing of the tree that remained but broken splintered chunks of wood, so was gathered up and added to our campfire burn slash pile.

 

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The lot next to ours had a huge old tree that we determined could be over 100 yrs. old. The above photo is one taken of this tree after it became stricken with the disease stripping it of its bark and burrowing into its roots till it dried up and shriveled to what looked like mere skeletal remains . It saddened us to see such a beautiful old giant suffer such a death.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

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