In Episode 8, Dr. Jesse Logan shares the second part of the interview, with fascinating insights on how whitebark pine trees, which provide vital seeds to grizzly bears, are sitting ducks when it comes to the predatory pine bark beetle. Dr. Logan talks about what it was like working on climate change issues in the hostile Bush administration, and his overriding passion for wilderness and wildlife.
"…the beetle has to kill the tree to successfully reproduce. And how this story has evolved over the years is fascinating."
"…whitebark has adopted a strategy, not of competition but escape to these very harsh environments -- these high elevation, really inhospitable places that whitebark live. …Whitebark -- not only are they not well-defended, their resin composition is exactly backwards. It’s high in the compounds that the beetle uses for its pheromone communication system. And it’s low in the compounds that are actually toxic to the beetle."
"This whole concept of public lands is really uniquely American, uniquely in the world. We’re the first to come up with the idea of a National Park. And as pretty much a direct spin off of Yellowstone National Park, large areas around the Park were designated at that time as forest reserves and became the National Forest System. And that’s under attack right now. It’s our legacy that’s being squandered…"
"…not too long after the Bush administration came in, it became very clear that if you didn’t go through the proper channels to get approval for an interview, you were going to be in big trouble – career- threatening sorts of trouble."
"By their very nature, scientific endeavor and political reality are incompatible… There just has to be freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression -- it’s absolutely essential to how science works. When you interfere with that with a political agenda, agenda-driven science, it just is not going to work."
"I have just a deep commitment and concern about the resource and in much larger issues, like wilderness, wildness. And I think for people to care about something, which I hope people do care about this precious small remnant of wilderness and wildness we still have, they have to be aware -- and it’s that simple."
Ecology of Place: Mountain Pine Beetle, Whitebark Pine, and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: WFIWC Founders Award, 2009, Dr Jesse Logan.
In the Rockies, Pine Dies and Bears Feel It, Charles Petit, New York Times, 2007
Global Warming's Unlikely Harbingers, Michelle Niijhuis, High Country News, 2004
The Scrambled Natural World of Global Warming, Washington State Magazine, Winter 2014