The 1970-80s outbreak effects were far-reaching on the resource as a whole and on future timber supplies. Spruce-fir inventory declined as the budworm caused mortality, growth loss, and damage to regeneration. Other factors were at work. Mill capacity during this time increased, and there was a strong demand for wood products. These demands as well as salvage cutting to thwart loss to the infestation increased cutting levels. The age structure of the forest also played a part, which led to a decline in fir stock due to aging, rot, and suppression.
Significant effects from the outbreak included:
- Defoliation of balsam fir by the budworm led to 84-97% mortality; 30-66% mortality was found for red spruce.
- The outbreak killed between 20 and 25 million cords of spruce and fir.
- Salvage logging led to increased clearcut harvesting–45% of the forest harvested in 1989 were clearcut.
- There was a significant increase in snowshoe hare population as a consequence of clearcutting.
- Protection efforts cost the state and federal governments, as well as private landowners, millions of dollars.
- The glut of wood on the market kept pulpwood prices low.
- The increase in logging stimulated more mechanization.
- Long-term decrease in logging jobs as output decreased post-outbreak.
- Insecticides were limited to organophosphate and carbamate chemicals; only large aircraft were available to treat broad areas.
- The Maine Forest Service assumed control over the entire SBW management program, which is unlikely to happen again in the future.
- The impact of the SBW on the forest composition substantially affected the food sources and wildlife habitat for birds and other species.
- Numerous negative political and legislative policy consequences due to poor communications and misunderstandings among landowners, government bodies, and the public.
MORE INFORMATION ON THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF THE 1970s-80s OUTBREAK: