Distressed Bark Beetle Panels

By Bill Christou, 05/11/17

Between 1996-present, Canada and parts of America have been plagued by a tiny killer, eliminating 723 million cubic metres of pines, equating to 53% of the total volume of pine trees in Canada.

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Although this scene may look aesthetically pleasing (thank the natural beauty of North America for that), all the red trees you see are pines that have died, and this view goes on for thousands of miles.

What has caused this endemic? A tiny, 5mm Mountain Pine Beetle. It has impacted 8 million hectares of forest by burrowing into the wood of pine trees and spreading a Blue Stain Fungus, eventually killing the tree. Though the timber is perfectly usable, there was a general consensus that the bluish tinge of the wood would make it economically undesirable. Customers would assume that due to the fact that the lumber was affected by a fungus and bored into by beetles that the wood would be weak and unusable. Lodgepole pine lumber is relatively expensive, so the loss of such an asset was detrimental economically.
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Some companies, chiefly Sustainable Lumber co., have thought of a marketing solution to remedy the lack of demand for beetle kill lumber. They are selling this tainted wood as "Beetle Kill Pine" at $7 per square foot. Some companies are even building instruments like Ukulele's out of the blue stained timber due to its distinct beauty.

These companies are utilizing the aesthetically pleasing properties of the beetle kill pine to their advantage. This Beetle Kill Pine has a depth to it that makes each board unique, creating an overall distinct look. Just another way that marketing can affect the public's outlook on a certain look of wood while promoting sustainability by using wasted timber!

By Bill Christou, 05/11/17

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