Southern Pine Bark Beetle

The diminutive Southern Pine Bark Beetle has had out-sized impacts on the East Texas landscape, generating major political and environmental controversies over logging on public lands to salvage timber and prevent the further spread of the hungry insect.


Narrator: Richard "Dick" ConnerTitle: Longleaf and LoblollyDuration: 00:01:18Date: October 8, 2021Richard “Dick” Conner, Ph.D., is Scientist Emeritus in the Wildlife Habitat and Silviculture Laboratory, a part of the Southern Research Station in Nacogdoches, an operation of the U.S. Forest Service. He has studied a number of topics, but is very well known for his work with the red-cockaded woodpecker, a species that greatly favors the longleaf pine for building its nesting cavities. Here he describes how the decline of the longleaf pine, and its replacement by loblolly pines, led to severe pine bark beetle outbreaks.Narrator: Maxine JohnstonTitle: Beetles in the Big ThicketDuration: 00:02:57Date: October 11, 1999Maxine Johnston, a librarian and long-time board member of the Big Thicket Association, describes lobbying to protect tracts of woodlands slated for acquisition for the Big Thicket National Preserve. Some of these parcels were being rapidly logged to control the southern pine bark beetle, and some charge, to undermine creation of the Preserve.Narrator: Bill OliverTitle: Pine AwayDuration: 00:05:03Date: January 1, 2007Bill Oliver, the Austin-based "Environmental Troubadour", sings "Pine Away, Pine Bark Beetle", with the Otter Space Band and a chorus of children to lament the Forest Service's ironic strategy of cutting trees to save them from the Southern pine bark beetle.Narrator: Bill OliverTitle: Munch, Munch, MunchDuration: 00:04:11Date: July 11, 2022Bill Oliver is a noted singer, songwriter and educator based in Austin. He has been long interested and involved in conservation. Here he describes how he put together the song, "Pine Away, Pine Bark Beetle", about the effort to protect wilderness areas in east Texas from salvage-logging trees threatened by the beetle.Narrator: Craig RudolphTitle: Beetles, Pines, and WoodpeckersDuration: 00:05:31Date: October 20, 2021Craig Rudolph worked as a research ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service, out of its Southern Research Station, based in Nacogdoches. During his tenure there, he saw fast-moving outbreaks of Southern pine bark beetles in the east Texas woods, and witnessed the controversies over how best to respond to the beetle attacks. The principal pine now commercially planted in those forests, the loblolly, is especially vulnerable to the beetle. To add to the complex situation, the beetle is both a key food source for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, and a threat to its nesting trees.Narrator: Larry SheltonTitle: Cut, Cut, CutDuration: 00:01:17Date: August 29, 1997Larry Shelton is a cabinetmaker and forestry consultant based in Nacogdoches. Here he discusses the U.S. Forest Service's reaction to cyclical outbreaks of Southern pine bark beetles. Mr. Shelton doubts the success of the agency's practice of cutting infected trees to reduce the area and duration of the beetle's impact.Narrator: Larry SheltonTitle: Loblolly FarmsDuration: 00:02:26Date: August 29, 1997Mr. Shelton is a woodworker and forester who has long represented the Texas Conservation Alliance in its negotiations with the U.S. Forest Service over management of national forests in the state. Here he points out the vulnerability of dense, pure, older-age stands of loblolly pine to attacks by Southern pine bark beetles.