Interview by Josh King with John Popp [2]

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Interview by Josh King of John Popp on July 21, 2009

Continuation of an
earlier interview with John Popp.

Noisy and unintelligible to start
with.

Josh:  Why don't you use one?

John: Well uh, actually in this case,
my boss borrowed it and never returned it. 

Josh:  Oh, that's a good
answer.

John:  It's being used elsewhere in other studies.  

Josh:  So,
this is the actual trap.

John:  So, this is uhm, called a funnel trap and
this is the bait.

Josh:  Okay

John:  And it's specifically for mountain
pine beetle. Shake and get anybody who might be in there. There's one right
on the edge

Josh: Yeah, there is. 

(Unintelligible) 

Josh:  I don't have
a macro lens, unfortunately

John:  [?] What kind of camera do you have
there?

Josh:  It's a D-90, Nikon

?:  [?]

Josh:  Yep

David Reed:  You
can make one of those cheaper.

Josh:  Yeah, you can [?]

David:  Whatever
lines over, yeah, that's what I do but its really pretty bootleg.

Josh: 
Yeah

John:  I had a very nice macro system with my previous, my film
system

Josh:  Okay, Yeah

John:  [?] on fm [?]

Josh:  Oh, okay, I have a
nat, I have the same camera too

John:  Uhm, but I haven't, I, I just went
digital within the last couple of years.  Canon, you know, the digital
level

Josh:  Oh, okay

John:  works pretty well for me.  Uh, OK, so I
haven't, I've got a couple of nice lens but I haven't gotten [?] macro yet
either

Josh:  Yeah, it's money

John:  Yeah

Josh:  It's a sinkhole

John:
 Yeah, absolutely, and it's like, well, I could sell my other camera and
lens but [?] (unintelligible) if I could.  OK, uhm, oh yeah, trying to
remember where the next one was

Josh:  So they only really come, these uh,
the bait and trap is only when they fly, or basically, or do you always
have some that are outside of a tree

John:  No, they're uhm, they're spend
most of their life inside the tree 

Josh:  Okay

John:  They really spend
just a very short time

Josh:  Okay, outside

John:  outside it.  My boss
went and put these, some of these up initially, actually that's pretty low.
 For some of these that are up

Josh:  Huh

John:  like 15 feet in the
trees and stuff

Josh:  Oh, really

John:  just because that's how high the
snow was.

Josh:  Oh, gotcha

John:  So, it's actually kinda hard to find
the [?] when you have to, it's not where you're looking for it

Josh:  Do
they use a similar set-up or do you use a similar set-up for the mountain
pine beetle then?

John:  Same, same trap but different

Josh:  different
pheromones

John:  different pheromones

Josh:  Okay

John:  So, and you
just, yeah, order, there's this specialty company that,

Josh:  Huh

John: 
uh, that just manufacture pheromones

Josh:  Wow

John:  So, uh, just order
whatever kind you need.  So, we've got one more spruce beetle trap and a,
uh, Western Balsam bark beetle.

Josh:  Okay

John:  I always see these
confused.  They're the one that are attacking the firs around here

Josh: 
Huh, really, okay.  And how, uhm, I assume they're a native, but, how, are
they above av, are they, is their population growing, spiking like the
other beetles, or

John:  Well, I wouldn't call it spiking, 

David: 
There's a little bit of [?] to em.

John:  What's that?

David:  Little
bit of [?] to em.

John:  Oh yeah, well, the [?] starts to

(Interruption
by part of another interview breaking in)

John:  It's uh, it's shrinking
about 2 feet a week

David:  Yeah

John:  right now.  Uhm, I don't know if
their numbers, I've never seen an epidemic of this, 

Josh:  Okay

John: 
[?]

Josh:  Yeah

John:  Uhm, so they're usually a lower level sorta
background level.  Uhm, there is a fair amount of mortality around here,
uh, but there aren't a lot of fir here.

Josh:  Yeah

John:  It is really,
even though you talk about spruce fir forests, this is like 95 percent
spruce here.

Josh:  Okay

John:  So, there's only pockets of fir

Josh: 
Mm-hmm

John:  And so, they're, they're hitting a lot of [?] but it's still
not a large amount

Josh:  Okay

John:  And uhm, I'm, like I said, I'm
probably getting more spruce beetles than Dryocoetes, can the Dryocoetes
bait and baited trap.

Josh:  Huh, just because they're exploring and
trying to find

John:  They're just really low level

Josh:  Huh
 
John: 
and they're just picking off a few here and there.

Josh:  Now the, the
spruce, uh, beetle, is it considered the, the same kind of scale as the
mountain pine beetle?  Not yet, but, is there, are they, do they believe
that it will spike like the mountain pine beetle?

John:  Well, 

Josh: 
Are the conditions right, right for them as well?

John:  Probably not the
same scale.

Josh:  Okay

John:  Uhm, you know the, the mountain pine
beetle is doing outrageous stuff partly because of the one year life
cycle

Josh:  Okay

John:  And uh, we're going in here.  And partly because
there are such vast areas of posts that is mature, all susceptible.

Josh: 
Okay

John:   Uhm, and so, there's essentially a limitless food supply for
them.

Josh:  Okay

John:  And the spruces aren't in the same
category

Josh:  Cat, okay

John:  So, within the spruce, there may be
still relatively large numbers, this might be a, a kind of a big
buildup

Josh:  Okay

John:  for them

Josh:  Yeah

John:  but the scale is
not gonna be the same

Josh:  Okay

John:  just because you don't have
millions of acres of continuous forest

Josh:  Okay

John:  And, so they
are working their way through the spruce forest

Josh:  Right

John:  But,
uhm, the shear numbers just aren't

Josh:  Okay

John:  gonna compete. 


Josh:  They, so they predict, you know, about 90 percent 

John:  A
different bait

Josh:  Oh, okay, of uhm, of all lodgepole will get nailed. 
Uhm, what, do they have any predictions on

John: I doubt it. 

Josh: 
spruce?

John:  and the 90 percent is a

Josh:  projection, right.

John: 
And that's uh, mature spruce,

Josh:  Okay

John:  uh, uh, mature
lodgepole,

Josh:  Right

John:  Not all lodgepole

Josh:  Right

John:  So
even if you have an area where it's a hundred percent mortality of
lodgepole, you're still gonna have understory lodgepole that's not being
hit 

Josh:  Yeah

John:  and other species 

Josh:  Right

John:  So, it's
not like the forests are gonna be completely

Josh:  Yeah

John: 
denuded.

Josh:  Right

John:  Uhm, and, and people that are using numbers
like 90 percent are gonna be dead, are really going for sort of a reaction.
 It's a very strong statement.

Josh:  Mm-hmm

John:  And, they're, it's a
little general and broad.  So, uhm

Josh:  Be careful when you throw those
numbers around

John:  Yeah, like I said, it's really good for getting the
attention of people.  Unfortunately, it's a little overstated.  But, I
think we can say that it's, we're losing around 80 percent of the basin
area within those forests, uh, within the uh,  mountain pine beetle
area.

Josh:  Now, if the, if the lodgepole gets hit so hard, could more
spruce, uh, could it open up habitat for spruce?

John:  Well, uhm 

Josh: 
Cuz I know they are, the lodgepole up in high elevation

John:  Yep,
there's

Josh:  That could possibly be

John:  Well, I do see the opposite
of [?] happen.  Uhm, if you're gonna play a climate change kinda card,
things are warming up so the spruce is not likely to inhabit areas that
were formally occupied by lodgepole.  If anything, it would be the
opposite, 

Josh:  Okay

John:  where the lodgepole should actually be
moving, replacing spruce.  Where 

[?] - unintelligible

Josh:  Don't have
a macro lens [?] looking for, okay.

John:  Where they, it's the high
extreme, like up here for instance 

Josh:  Mm-hmm, 10 5

John:  Yeah, it's
like you always have these little stringers and little, little bits of uhm,


Josh:  Yep

John:  Get it?

Josh:  Yeah,

John:  Alright

Josh:  people
like weird angles

John:  Yeah

Josh:  So

John:  So we're getting uh, like
I said, the moving up areas right here where they never did before so
they're, this used to be a refuge for a few lodgepoles and, and limbers and
things like that and they're no longer safe cuz the mountain pine beetle
has actually moved

Josh:  Okay

John:  up the slope to higher elevations. 
So, uhm

David:  And lodgepole are faster growing trees, right?

John: 
Much faster than spruce

David:  Okay

John:  Yeah.  What typically happens
in a spruce fir forest like this would be that, uhm, the fir would just
come in better, it's usually in the understory, anyway.

Josh:  Okay

John:
 And, spruce gets killed off and you, until you have a stand or replacing
fire you tend to get more and mo fir

David:  more and more fir

John: 
coming up and so you'll just shift, you know, uhm, but then if you have
something else like the Dryocoetes coming in, and hitting the fir

Josh: 
Okay, only when they fly or basically er, do you always have some that are
outside of

David:  [?] do bark beetles go after [?]

John:  They spend
most of their life inside the tree

Josh:  Okay

John:  and really just
spend a very short time

Josh:  Okay, outside

John:  outside, even if a
few neighbors

Josh:  Okay

John:  get nailed, it probably won't

David: 
Need something to reseed the forest 

John:  [?]

Josh:  Yeah

John:  It,
it, there are gonna be some areas that may shift.

David:  Yeah

John:  You
may see some lodgepole shifting more and, getting more ponderosa pine, you
know uhm, and at the higher elevations you might see some lodgepole taking
over some areas that were traditionally spruce fir.

Josh:  Hmm

David: 
And at low elevation, aspen moving up, right into the lodgepole, what was
lodgepole?

John:  Yeah, well aspen's pretty widely spread and it tends to
go up pretty high, too.  

David:  Okay

John:  Uhm, of course, aspen has
its own problems

Josh:  Yeah

John:  And, uhm, you know there's certainly
evidence that it is struggling to hang on,

?:  that's a fir, right there
[?]

Josh:  Yeah, it is

John:  Uhm, so it's struggling at it.  And the
idea of aspen decline, sudden aspen decline and all seems to be worse, so
we've got

Josh:  edges

John:  four spruce beetle traps and a Western
Balsam bark beetle.  Uhm, might go up higher elevation, uh, I think more
likely that is going to, hopefully it will start doing better

Josh: 
Yeah

John:  Uhm, as there are more opening in the forest canopy

Josh: 
Okay

John:  from, from the beetles. 

Josh:  Mm-hmm

John:  Hopefully the
aspen.  I wouldn't call it spiking

David:   [?]

John:  What's
that?

Josh:  Potential higher soil moisture content, right, or would that
make any difference

John:  Well, that's iffy.  I'm not a water guy so I'm
not gonna go too deep into that.  But, uhm, when you have trees dying out
and you get more sunlight, that tends to warm the site

Josh:  Oh, okay, so
you get more evaporation

John:  So, that could create a drying as
well

Josh:  Okay

John:  You may have fewer trees drinking the
water

Josh:  Yeah, okay

John:  but you may have less of it and you know,
you because more sun, you could uh, have it not hanging on like the little
patches of snow, they might melt off quicker

Josh:  Okay

David: 
Mm-hmm

John:  So you'll have fewer days that have moisture

Josh: 
Okay

John:  possibly.  So that can be a complex thing and I'll leave that
to an expert.