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Friday, January 18, 2013

Today we're talking about bugs


If you live in a forested area of the American West, you know well of the devastation wreaked by the mountain pine beetle. No bigger than your fingertip, the beetle attacks ponderosa, Scotch and lodgepole pines injecting a fungus which prevents the tree from protecting itself with sap or flow. The fungus and the beetles' larvae overtake the tree, quickly killing it within a matter of weeks.


Climate change has helped the beetle overrun forests from Mexico to British Columbia. Mild winters do not affect the beetle, and warm summers allow it to reproduce quickly.


The infestation is at epidemic proportions in Colorado as evidenced by the huge numbers of burnt orange-colored dead trees dotting the landscape. Within 3-4 years, the orange color fades to gray.


The dead trees pose an incredible hazard as seen in the many headline-making forest fires Colorado experienced this past summer. Currently, the best management techniques are selective felling and burning to contain the infested areas.


In an effort to minimize the ecological impact of the damaged trees, local artisans have turned this natural disaster into a creative opportunity. The stain left behind by the fungus ranges in color from bright blue to soft gray.


The blue and gray shades can appear as striations or marble-like markings.


Though the timber's appearance has changed, it remains structurally stable and can be crafted into flooring, siding, cabinets and furniture. The wood poses no health risk since the beetles and their larvae are long gone.


It is predicted the beetle will destroy every lodgepole pine in the state of Colorado, if not the entire West. In the coming years, we will have enormous quantities of this beautiful material at our disposal.


I will be doing my part by installing pine beetle wood cabinets in my (soon to be) Big Rock Candy Mountain house.


What do you say, Dumplings, can this Coloradan convince you to embrace azure wood?

14 comments:

Jools said...

I love this convergence of art, environmentalism, and economics.

Convinced!

David said...

Absolutely. I'll take mine as horizontal wall paneling please!

Peeke said...

It is beautiful in an environmentally tragic kind of way. It looks like marble...

Squeak said...

Abso-frigging-lutely!

I'm going to do some Googling to see if this beautiful wood is available in British Columbia's lumber yards.

ChrisToronto said...

beautiful and terribly sad

Suite Details said...

Thank you for bringing this topic to light. I think ths wood used in flooring is a wonderfully beautiful ides.

Concrete Jungle said...

To every cloud a silver lining....looks gorgeous!

5th and State said...

my nephew lives in colorado and is a forest fire fighter, this chicagoan has been brokenhearted about this infestation. now here you are with a beautiful ending for this tragic saga. LOVE it!

Kathy said...

In the manner of Shel Silverstein...truly..."The Giving Tree"...

jason said...

wow....it's beautiful, but heartbreaking still.

Annie Smith said...

Raina! What an inspiring, educational post. That is gorgeous! We will be redoing our kitchen eventually, I am emailing my husband your post right now. Those colors are incredible!

Vyala-Arts said...

I wished I could get hold of it for carving. Right away I could imagine wonderful sculptures and other objects carving from it. It makes my inspirational juices running....

Very good post, Raina, especially from a serious educational point of view. I only wonder how these forests will be reforested again to avoid a recurring of the bugs in these masses.

Bethany Chase said...

I got obsessed with this after I saw your pins the other day. Could see it looking great in a beach house!

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

It's so beautiful and I guess you can't un-ring the bell, so it's best to use it.


BTW, I love LEARNING something from a blog. :)