PlainSky, Nebraskans: Ponderosa Roots, Pine Ridge

Ponderosa Roots, Pine Ridge

Ponderosa Roots, Pine Ridge

Across the West, the pine bark beetle has destroyed many of the pine forests so many Americans envision when they hear, “mountain woods.” A century of fire suppression, coupled with invasive species and political wars, conspired to make these forests a virtual smorgasbord for the beetle, and now many stands of pine have been reduced to little more than brown, dead opportunities for uncontrollable and destructive–rather than regenerative–fires.

The problem represents a painful reality for ranchers like Dave Kreman, whose land has been handed down through the generations since before the last of the 19th century. He is forced to watch as the stands of trees, so vital to the health of the land he so carefully manages in the interest of his family, his cattle, and the environment, are systematically devastated by an enemy he can’t fight.


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