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Southern Pine Beetle

ravages pines, threatens

Red Cockaded Woodpecker

By Jim Widlak, CFO Biologist



   A severe winter snow storm in 1997 and a tornado in 1998 damaged trees on more than 3,000 acres on the southern end of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. Subsequent mild winters in 1999 and 2000 set the stage for a severe outbreak of the southern pine beetle that is currently threatening to eliminate a federally listed species from the state.

Red Cockaded Woodpecker

Photo by Jay Snyder

Texas Agriculture Extension Service

   The majority of trees damaged in the storm and tornado were pines, principally Virginia pine and shortleaf pine, two of the species which are susceptible to infestation by southern pine beetles. The adult beetles, each about half the size of a grain of rice, bore into the bark and create tunnels, or "galleries" for laying their eggs. These galleries are located in the living tissue of the tree trunk under the bark. When the larvae develop into adults, they emerge from the tree by boring out through the bark and fly to another tree. As a beetle bores into the bark of a pine tree, it releases a chemical that attracts other pine beetles to the tree. The tree eventually dies as hundreds or thousands of pine beetles bore into and destroy the living tissue in the tree trunk.  continued...


CFO Partners with Powell County Schools

by Brad Bingham, CFO Biologist

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Powell County, KY Board of Education, U.S. Forest Service, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, county, city and private organizations, provided funding, time, and effort to convert approximately 18 acres into outdoor environmental study areas. These areas will provide students throughout the Powell County an opportunity to learn more about their natural surroundings and environment.

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Activities such as the conversion of fescue to native warm season grasses, wetland creation, reforestation of native species, establishment of native wildflower gardens and wildlife foodplots, installation of nest boxes and bat houses were all implemented.

Wetland areas were created to provide habitat for amphibians, reptiles, waterfowl, and wading birds. Native warm season grasses were planted to provide nesting habitat for neotropical birds, and local small game animals such as the northern bobwhite quail and eastern cottontail rabbit. Butterfly gardens were planted with native vegetation to provide a food sources for butterflies, hummingbirds, and an assortment of insects. All activities serve as educational tools to assist in the development of environmentally aware students who will become our future citizens and leaders.