There is also the risk that the beetles will infect the next trees causing the damage to spread and, in the worst case, even get out of control.
The work not only facilitates the subsequent clearing along the power line, its primary aim is to preserve the entire forest. After all, the forest protects the population from natural hazards, such as avalanches, rockfalls and landslides and is therefore critical.
This requires a huge amount of effort. To protect the living trees, the felled timber must be quickly removed from the forest. Otherwise the bark beetle uses it as a breeding ground and its spread continues unchecked. But removing the trees is difficult in this steep and inaccessible terrain. Their removal by helicopter is often the only option. Swissgrid supports the forestry authorities in caring for the forest and shares part of the costs.
It is by far not the only place with a beetle infestation. The winter storm Burglind uprooted a huge number of trees in the forests and therefore created ideal breeding sites for the bark beetle. The forestry operations were barely able to keep up with the removal of this «beetle-infested wood». The persistent dry period in the hot summer of 2018 as well as in the hot June and July of 2019 also weakened large numbers of trees. The beetle population, however, exploded thanks to the warm temperatures. So the work is not likely to end any time soon. In response to the question of whether this year is a bad one with the beetles, Sepp’s answer is just one word: «Absolutely.» There’s nothing more to say. He reopens the path, climbs down to the felled tree, starts-up his chainsaw and starts delimbing.