Outbreaks of Southern pine beetles--a native insect that lays its eggs beneath the bark of pine trees--occur about every 10 years in east Tennessee as a result of the beetles' natural population cycle. Pine-beetle outbreaks during 1993 to 1994 and 1999 to 2000 were worse than usual due to dry weather and mild winters that stressed a large number of pine trees and enabled the beetles to spread uninhibited by cold weather. These outbreaks impacted more than half the approximately 9,500 acres (3,840 ha) of planted and natural ORR pine stands.
After the outbreaks about 1,950 acres (790 ha) of the infected trees were salvaged. In areas that were not suitable for salvage, the pines were pushed down, piled, and some of them burned. These areas have now naturally regenerated--only about 100 acres (40 ha) of pines were replanted--as pine or hardwood stands.
About one percent of the ORR has been impacted by beavers. Their activity results in an increase in standing dead trees and more open forest areas. This photo shows a beaver dam flooded area on the ORR, one of the primary locations for redheaded woodpeckers.
(Photo by Mike Ryon)