‘I see greed:’ Concern raised with logging results near Custer

By Lee Strubinger
South Dakota Public Broadcasting
November 2, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Last summer, logging crews working on the Bull Springs timber sale, cut down the biggest pine trees in sections surrounding Round Mountain. With that forest overstory gone, what remains are dense clusters of small ponderosa pine that look more like bushes. …In the 2000’s, the U.S. Forest Service thinned dense ponderosa stands to get ahead of the pine beetle epidemic. The transformation allowed young, understory trees, often called ‘doghair’ to become very dense. …retired forester David Mertz questioned the project. “The only thing I can come up with is they provided saw timber to the sawmills,” Mertz said, adding the understory that remains will eventually create a problem. Thick, dense tree stands will compete for sunlight, water and nutrients. Eventually, if they aren’t thinned, they’ll become more susceptible to infestation or fire in the future. Forester Carl Fiedler said if the remaining doghair stands are thinned, …the effects of overstory removal can diminish in a few years.

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