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Senator Gooding. What is the distance away from the white-pine belt that this disease now exists?
Mr. WYCKOFF. The disease now exists in the white-pine belt in British Columbia.
Senator GOODIXG. How far is it from the border of Idaho?
Mr. WYCKOFF. Thirty miles at the present time. In 1922 it was 60 miles from the border, and now it is 30 miles from the border.
Senator ODDIE. Has an estimate been made of the loss in dollars and cents to standing timber in the United States from this disease?
Mr. WYCKOFF. I do not believe any such estimate has been made, because it is extremely difficult to place the valuation on the young stands of timber, and they are the ones that are most seriously depleted by this disease. They are more susceptible than the older stands.
Senator ODDIE. Is it a very serious loss? Mr. W'YCKOFF. It is a very serious loss. We have a belt north of Vancouver, British Columbia, which we have had under observation for years, and the white pines on that have been up about 18 years, and they are being killed off at the rate of 30 per cent of the stand every year.
Senator GOODING. Then is it your contention that there would be no reproduction of white pine if the white-pine blister rust continues to spread!
Mr. WYCKOFF. There would be no reproduction whatsoever. It would start, but it would be killed before it gets of value.
Mr. Bowdex. What are you doing now to prevent the development of that infestation to the southward and into northern Idaho?
Mr. WYCKOFF. The work has been of two types. One is the eradication of a special kind of currant--the English currant--which is more susceptible than any other currant or gooseberry known. We have started the eradication of that bush all over the Western States. That work has been nearly completed in Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Oregon, and the State of California has been about onethird covered. That is to delay the spread of the disease only. It will not stop its entrance, but it will delay the spread of the disease.
Then we are working on experimental methods to determine the most feasible way of the removal of the wild currant and gooseberry bushes from the woods.' That work has been going on for two years and on an increasing scale, as fast as we can develop a personnel to take care of it.
Mr. Bowdex. To what extent have you eradicated the gooseberry and wild-currant bushes ?
Mr. W'YCKOFF. Last year we covered an experimental area of about 8.000 acres. · This year with a smaller force-I have not all the figures available, but I think it was about half of that, due to a very serious fire emergency in north Idaho, and many of our men were put under fire-suppression work, and we did nt cover the acreage that we did last year. This is experimental work, you understand, to determine the best methods.
Senator ODDIE, Do you think the loss runs into the millions of dollars a year from this infestation?
Mr. WYCKOFF. It certainly will when it gets into north Idaho. Senator ODDIE. Well, do you think it does now in any areas in the l'nited States ?
Mr. WYCKOFF. It was running into millions of dollars of loss in the eastern part of the United States until they worked out this method of control—the removal of currant and gooseberry bushes.
Senator ODDIE. Do you know how much is appropriated for the control of this disease
Mr. WYCKOFF. There is an appropriation of $200,000 per annum for the eastern work, and the appropriation in the West for the current fiscal year is $140,000. Now, there has been worked out a 10year program for the control of this disease in the West. That calls for a constantly increasing appropriation. Just as fast as the personnel can be developed and the methods developed it is planned to apply these methods onto the ground. Senator ODDIE. Have you any further questions, Senator Gooding? Senator GOODING. I think not.
Senator Oppie. That will be all, Mr. Wyckoff. Thank you for appearing before us and giving us this testimony.
STATEMENT OF MR. JAMES E. EVENDEN, ASSOCIATE ENTOMOLO
GIST IN CHARGE OF THE FOREST INSECT FIELD STATION, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COEUR D'ALENE, IDAHO
Senator ODDIE. Mr. Evenden, will you give the committee a brief statement as to your experience and qualifications, and then follow it with your statement in any way that you would like to present it to the committee?
Mr. EVENDEN. I will make a brief statement, Senator, and then I would be very pleased to have you ask me any and all questions.
Senator ODDIE. Will you give your experience in this work?
Mr. EVENDEN. I was transferred from the Forest Service in 1914 to the Bureau of Entomology, and since that time have been engaged in forest-insect work, located at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in charge of the forest-insect field station at that place.
Senator Oddie. Now, you will make your statement to the committee, please.
Mr. ÉVENDEN. A forest policy which does not include the prevention of damage by insects and disease is far from complete. Insect losses in the United States are parallel in importance, though perhaps not so spectacular, and constitute just as great a potential danger as fire. An insect epidemic or outbreak in our forested lands when once started spreads through all forested areas which are adjacent if the timber stand is favorable to their attack, regardless of ownership.
To illustrate this I should like to cite you just one outbreak which we are confronted with at this time. În 1909 an outbreak of the mountain-pine beetle occurred in the Flathead National Forest. Mont. Since that time it has spread south along the west side of the Continental Divide, leaving in its wake a devastated forest with at least 50 per cent of the lodgepole and yellow pine destroyed. This loss of course extends over lands owned by private agencies, the State, Forest Service, and unclaimed public domain. It is impossible to estimate the value of the timber which has been destroyed in the past 15 years. But it is sufficient to say that it runs into many hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The head of this infestation now rests on the east fork of the Bitterroot River some 130 miles south of the original source. In 1924 at this extreme head of the infestation, which does not take into consideration the back waves, so to speak, or the cleaning up of isolated drainages, it was estimated that at least 1,000,000 trees were killed. The 1925 attack is equal to that, if not more so.
There are many other outbreaks of forest insects which I could eite you, equal in importance, if time were available.
Insects which kill forest trees fall naturally into two groups bark beetles and defoliators. In the group of bark beetles are placed such destructive insects as the western-pine beetle, the mountain-pine beetle, the Black Hills beetle and many others of more or less importance. These insects feed upon that portion of the tree which lies directly between the bark and the wood, often called the cambium This feeding results in the construction of tunnels or galleries which completely girdle the tree and results in its death.
Defoliators kill trees through the action of the larvæ or caterpillars feeding upon the needles or leaves. Into this group are placed such insects as the pine white butterfly, the spruce bud worm, the hemlock span worm, the forest tent caterpillar, the brown-tail moth, the larch worm, and many others.
The loss from bark beetles occurs primarily in our pine forests. Howerer, there are tremendous quantities of Douglas fir, spruce, and other trees killed annually. Defoliators are more forcible in their activities, as practically all species of conifers suffer from defoliators.
The losses from forest insects in the United States amount to 9,000,000,000 board feet of timber a year, or from $135,000,000 to $150,000,000. This sum, however, includes the insect damage to forest products which, though low in board feet, amounts to $75,000,000 at least.
Aside from epidemics in our forests there is a constant loss going on due to the action of bark beetles. This we have called the normal infestation, and because of the many epidemics which are confronting us at this time we have been obliged to accept this loss. In north Idaho alone we lose $350,000 worth of white pine annually from the normal infestation, which is approximately three tenths of one per cent of the total volume. This normal infestation varies from one tenth of 1 per cent to as much as one half of 1 per cent of the total volumes of the forest. And when this is taken in the aggregate it amounts to a tremendous volume of timber.
Aside from this loss, it is from the normal infestations that the epidemics occur when conditions are favorable. We never know. We may look at an area one year and consider it to be normal. The following year an epidemic has started and by the time we get in action sometimes it is beyond control, and quite often it is beyond control.
Perhaps I have strayed somewhat from my subject, but I have tried to bring forth the importance of this phase of forestry and to emphasize the point that an insect infestation, no matter where it is, constitutes a dangerous menace to the timber stands adjacent.
That is all the statement I have to make, Senator.
Senator ODDIE. Mr. Evenden, is it not a fact that the result of a timber infestation renders that particular area more susceptible to forest fires ?
Mr. EVENDEN. There is no question of that, sir, for we have all recognized—those of us in forestry work—the fact that especially through a lodge pole pine forest which has been devastated by insects it seems impossible to stop a fire when it has once started, and the fires always seem to start in five or six years following the infestation. Aside from the débris which is created on the floor of the forest, the standing snags in yellow pine and white pine are being considered a very great hindrance to fire suppression. I believe in California and Oregon a clause is being written into most of the timber sales contracts which requires the felling of the snags. Now I am not sure of that. The forest officials here could check me on that, I am sure. But there is at least some action pending on that.
Senator Oddie. Do you know what the total appropriations for the control and eradication of these infestations are?
Mr. EVENDEN. For the control and eradication?
Mr. EVENDEN. $25,000 for the national forests of the United States, and $25,000 for the National Park Service, which was secured last year for the first time, and I do not know whether that will be continued or not.
Senator Oddie. That is in addition to the appropriations for the control of white-pine blister rust?
Mr. EVENDEN. Yes, sir.
Senator Opdie. Do you know of any other appropriation for this control work?
Mr. EVENDEN. For insect control; no, sir. Several years ago there was an appropriation of $150,000 made for the suppression of the western pine bark beetle epidemic in southern Oregon I believe that fund has been exhausted with the exception of $10,000, which was used this year in a survey.
Senator OddiE. Well, in other words, the total appropriations by the Government for this work are under half a million dollars a year?
Mr. EVENDEN. $50,000.
Senator Oppie. In addition to the appropriations for the control of the white-pine blister rust--I will consider that separately in this question, because the cause and remedy have largely been determined in that-it is more a matter of control ?
Mr. EVENDEN. Yes, sir.
Senator Oddie. Now I want to ask you a few questions about that. As a matter of cold-blooded comparison, here is an annual loss, a growing loss of $135,000,000 to $150,000,00 a year, and appropriations by the Government of $50,000 a year to combat that in round numbers?
Mr. EVENDEN. Yes, sir.
Senator ODDIE. Do you know what the loss from fires other than forest fires is throughout the United States?
Mr. EVENDEN. From fires other than forest fires?
Senator ODDIE. A few days ago I read a statement made by a very reliable authority that it ran up close to $500,000,000 a year, and that the cost of maintaining fire departments and watersheds for protection against fire was practically an equal sum. Now do you not consider the timber resources as valuable as any assets that we have in this country?
Mr. EVENDEN. Yes, sir; I do.
Senator ODDIE. And when you compare a fire loss of $500,000,000 a year, in round numbers, to property other than forests, expenditures for the control of these fires of an equal sum, approximately, with the loss from forest infestations and the amount appropriated by the Government for the control of these forest infestations, do you not think that the amount appropriated by the Government for that purpose is pitifully small ?
Mr. EVENDEN. I do, sir.
Senator ODDIE. Do you know what is being done in educating young men to handle this problem in the future?
Mr. EVENDEX. Very little, sir, because we have no real future to offer them. I think there are very few students specializing in forest entomology.
Senator ODDIE. Is that because of a lack of policy of our Government?
Mr. EVENDEN. I can not answer that, sir.
Senator ODDIE. Is it because of a lack of encouragement by our Government to young men which would induce them to devote their life study to this work?
Mr. EVENDEN. I think that answers it, sir. I think that many boys would be interested in this work if a future could be promised to them. But we can not assure them an appointment up graduation.
Senator ODDIE. Do you know how many young men are taking this particular course to-day in the universities of the United States ?
Mr. EVENDEN. I am not sure. I know of three who are specializing in forest entomology in the eastern schools.
Senator ODDIE. And do you know whether or not these young men feel reasonably encouraged about their future?
Mr. EVENDEN. I am not personally acquainted with them, sir.
Senator ODDIE. Do you know whether they feel sufficiently certain about their future to be encouraged to stay in this work?
Mr. EVENDEN. We have given summer employment to them in our bureau this summer, but I do not know if our chief has offered them any encouragement.
Senator ODDIE. I know that the department and the bureau are more than anxious to help this work. But I am asking a series of questions which I hope will result in the public taking a little more interest in this matter. Do you believe that this work is of extreme importance in preserving one of our basic national assets?
Nr. EVENDEN. I do, sir. And Forest Service officers throughout the United States recognize that at this time. The forest officer in district 1 recently made a statement that in the next two or three years the same attention would be paid to an insect-infested white pine tree as if the tree had been struck by lightning and a fire was burning at the base. Our stumpage values, of course, regulate the interest that is centered upon any tree that suffers, and with our present stumpage value of these white pines we can not stand the drain to our timber which is occurring through our annual losses aside from our epidemics.