After heading off a pine beetle infestation on the 37,000-acre Montana ranch he co-owns, Larry Lipson had thousands of tons of lumber on hand. He decided to make something useful out of it — these handsome cases for Apple products.
When pine beetles started attacking the forest on their land, the Lipsons had a plan, The New York Times reports:
“We had scouts that hiked through the forest, identifying trees that were infected,” Mr. Lipson says, adding that the needles turn a burnt-red color. The next step was to isolate those trees by thinning around them, then cut them down and haul them out. Within two years, their corner of the infestation was under control.
Lipson, whom the NYT describes as a “self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur,” figured out that he could probably make more profit off the wood than if he just chipped it, like most ranchers. Those iPhone backs sell for $69. But they look cool, and you get to know that your phone is protected by a tree that died valiantly in battle.
Invasion of the Beetles, and a Rancher’s Revenge, New York Times.