Mountain Pine Beetle cost-share program now available | TheFencePost.com

Mountain Pine Beetle cost-share program now available

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Forest Service is now accepting applications for its new mountain pine beetle treatment cost-share program.

The program is designed to help protect native pine forests and high-value pine trees from mountain pine beetle, as well as to reduce the potential of the insect becoming widespread throughout the Panhandle and Niobrara River areas. Funds may be used to treat forested areas or individual high-value trees.

Mountain pine beetle, one of several bark beetles of pine, can cause widespread damage and mortality and has been confirmed in the Nebraska Panhandle, home to native stands of ponderosa pine. Other pines affected by mountain pine beetle include Scotch, Austrian and limber pines. In Nebraska, there are about 250,000 acres of forest at risk to mountain pine beetle.

Mountain pine beetle often attacks native pines that are stressed from environmental conditions such as drought and fire. In community settings, trees around construction areas, along streets and in yards are also susceptible to mountain pine beetle. Throughout the western U.S. and Canada, mountain pine beetle has killed more than 40 million acres of forest.

Beetle populations in native pine forests can increase as more trees become susceptible and are successfully attacked and infested. Reducing the number of infested trees can help decrease beetle populations. In communities, valuable trees can be protected by proper applications of appropriate insecticides. Species diversity within a forested area or community also improves forest health.

In addition to chemical treatments, improving overall forest health also can reduce mountain pine beetle infestations in forests and communities. Pines in dense forests compete for limited sun, water and nutrients. Thinning reduces this competition and improves the health of the remaining trees. Trees in community and residential landscapes often are stressed by dry conditions. Providing adequate moisture during dry periods can improve their health and make them less susceptible to mountain pine beetle.

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Information and application materials for the program can be obtained from Nebraska Forest Service offices in Chadron (Doak Nickerson at (308) 432-6190 or John Overstreet at (308) 432-3179), Scottsbluff (Georgette Jordening at (308) 632-2195 x1121), Ord (Rich Woollen at (308) 728-3221) and Valentine (Jess Yahnke at (402) 376-1850) or by contacting Rachel Allison, Nebraska Forest Service district forester at rallison1@unl.edu or (308) 696-6718.