Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Log Homes built with Mountain Pine Beetle Effected Timber

Timber that has died from natural sources and remains standing after it has died is referred to as “dead standing” or “standing dead” timber.
Dead standing timber is very popular with those concerned with the environment. It is selectively logged, often by helicopter logging. This method of logging is much easier on the environment. Logging the dead standing timber decreases the risks of forest fires and of massive areas of blow-down with increased environmental disturbances.

Much of our forests here in British Columbia are being devastated by the Mountain Pine beetles, which bore through the bark of the living trees to the cambial area. There they mate and then leave their larvae to hatch. The beetles interfere with the nutrient and sap flow of the tree and it eventually dies. Once the beetles have hatched, they leave. Nature's most effective population control for the beetles is cold weather, which kills beetle larvae. Sudden cold snaps of - 25 degrees C in the early fall or late spring, or sustained winter temperatures less than - 40 degrees C are required in order to curtail infestations. Since 1994, mild winters have decreased the winter mortality rate of beetle larvae from the usual 80 per cent mortality to less than 10 per cent mortality.
Consequently, our forests are greatly effected.

Fortunately, this timber can be retrieved and used for building handcrafted log homes.
Building with timber which has been drying naturally before it is harvested greatly reduces the shrinkage problems encountered when building with green logs. There is no need to be concerned about the beetles living in the logs of your new log home as they only live under the bark of live trees and so are long gone by the time your home is built.
Sitka Log Homes has been promoting the use of this great resource for years now. It has been a popular choice of customers looking to leave a more gentle impact on our environment over the last ten years or so. Our now famous “BC Canada Place” log house built for the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy was built using Mountain Pine Beetle effected timber. BC Canada Place promoted the beauty and integrity of this environmentally conscious choice to the world.

A handcrafted log home built of Mountain Pine Beetle effected timber built by Sitka Log Homes. The beetle leaves behind a blue streak in the wood which is very pleasing.

For more information on the Mountain Pine Beetle:
Mountain Pine Beetle - Ministry of Forests and Range - Province of British Columbia - 22 Apr 2008
Ministry of Forests information about the mountain pine beetle in BC, including: reports, photos, brochures, fact sheets, question & answers, maps, news releases, and regulations.

Photo by Lorraine Maclauchlan, Ministry of Forests, Southern Interior Forest Region

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