Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wounded and vulnerable: the pine trees at JHMC

“All slash and tree stems must be property disposed of as the scent of freshly cut pine limbs attracts more IPS Beetles to the area,” says an article at It also said that “chips must be broadcast spread no deeper than 2 inches and not piled so they dry quickly to eliminate the cut pine scent.” The Colorado State Forest Service, in a webpage entitled Ips Beetle Treatment Options, also claimed that “Normally Ips beetles limit their attack to trees in decline or are wounded or stressed.”

The last time I visited these pages was when SM City Baguio, after having jumping from one justification to another in their effort to convince us to find their expansion project acceptable, testified during the court hearing in the case filed against them that among the reasons for the removal of 182 trees in the area is the presence of an Ips infestation. For those not familiar with Ips, it is a type of beetle that attacks pine trees and their presence usually means a death sentence to the host tree. The only known effective way to prevent an infestation is the cutting and grinding and burning of an infected tree.

I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, far from it, in fact. But after doing a bit more research on the subject, I learned that these pine killer beetles are attracted to the scent of pine, as stated by the article sited above. That’s why I was quite concerned when I noticed that the trees around the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) office complex have had an area of around a square foot of bark removed so they can paint numbers on them as part of their inventory system, I suppose.

Any Baguioite knows the slightest cut on a pine trunk or branch sends the fragrant scent of pine wafting through the air. I am worried that this might attract the dreaded Ips calligraphus beetles to feast on the glorious, healthy Benguet pine trees whose trunks have been wounded and left exposed and vulnerable.

Then at the entrance of the JHMC area at Camp John Hay is a cluster of medium-sized pine trees. While the ones that line the road look green and healthy, right behind those are trees with drying, brown pine needles. They may be the result of planting the trees being planted too close to each other, or, as stated in an article on the subject of beetle infestation in, “Often the first noticeable indication of an Ips infestation is the fading of foliage from green to yellow to reddish brown.”

I have called the attention of several JHMC personnel regarding this and I was told not to worry for they know what they’re doing.

Dozens of wounded trees with exposed trunks, and dozens more with dried or drying pine needles that could be signs of an Ips calligraphus infestation – I sure hope they know what they’re doing.

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