Pine Beetles kill 2 million acres in Colorado alone. 25 million acres in N. America—and speeding.

Via on Jan 18, 2009

Climate Change ain’t future tense.

Climate Change is here, now—as evidenced, for example, by the pine beetle’s devastating spread in the Rocky Mountains.A month ago, the NY Times did a report on this phenomenon around the nation—where beetles, no longer dying due to freezing temperatures, are waking up earlier, working later, breeding more, dying less, spreading their territory and laying waste to vast swathes of US forests—trees are dying at twice the rate they used to. It’s happening now, in our backyard.

Mountain pine beetles are chewing through Colorado’s high-altitude forests at a slightly slower pace but are more active on the Front Range, according to a survey released Friday by the U.S. and Colorado forest services.

The beetles spread to 400,000 more acres in 2008, bringing the total area infected to about 2 million acres since 1996, when foresters first began tracking the outbreak.

Although the infestation is spreading more slowly – 500,000 new acres were affected in 2007 – diseased trees are now widely in evidence in Larimer, Boulder, Gilpin and Clear Creek counties, said Colorado State Forest supervisor Joe Duda.

“In two years, we’ve doubled the amount of acreage that has been killed,” said Gary Severson, executive director of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments and chairman of the state’s bark beetle cooperative. “It’s disconcerting.”

Forest officials have been teaming up with local communities statewide to protect recreation areas and critical mountain watersheds, but much remains to be done.

“Epidemics that affect the forest on a landscape level, like the mountain pine beetle, require a strong and coordinated effort among all of those impacted by this infestation,” Rick Cables, regional forester with the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement.

Spurred by drought and an aging forest, the beetle infestation has caused mountain communities across the state to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to create safe zones around towns and reservoirs.

Two pellet mills, in Walden and Kremmling, now buy downed trees that can’t be salvaged, and sales efforts have begun to help create markets for lumber from beetle-killed trees, Duda said.

Last summer, crews cleared dead and damaged trees from 31 Colorado campgrounds. But officials continue to caution people to use extra care when they are hiking and skiing in areas with extensive beetle kill because of risk of falling trees.

This year, the U.S. Forest Service and the state will once again deploy teams to thin diseased trees and spray those that can still be rescued out of the 22 million acres of forest across the state.

Severson said he expects about $13 million in federal funds to help battle beetles this year, up from $8 million in 2008.

But Severson said at least $20 million…

Here’s the rest.

Some videos:

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

2,126 views

13 Responses to “Pine Beetles kill 2 million acres in Colorado alone. 25 million acres in N. America—and speeding.”

  1. Jim says:

    You're and idiot if you really believe the vomit you are spewing about global warming. You need to contact a real scientist with Noaa or NCAR. I am afraid they will shoot a lot of holes in your THEORY.

    • Well, at least we don't go around insulting folks anonymously. You're more than welcome to post an article based on your findings, or NOAA or NCAR's, on this site. Thanks for playing!

  2. [...] as evidenced by 1,000s of stories from around the world, including right here in my backyard, the problem’s already here—it’s not some future [...]

  3. [...] of our swirling oceans…and many of the changes are already occurring, as evidenced by the deadly spread of the no longer frozen-and-killed pine-tree-eating beetle right here in my backyard, the Rocky [...]

  4. nofreewind says:

    It is always so simple to blame every quirk of nature on BadMan. Here is a report commissioned by The Nature Conservancy and Colorado State University. They conclude that the Pine Bark problem in Colorado is because of fire suppression in the 20th Century which increased the stand density.

    http://premium.fileden.com/premium/2009/6/11/2474

  5. [...] Recently, I penned an article criticizing John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods, for voicing doubt on the supposed lack of scientific consensus behind Climate Change. In so doing, said article made the home page of Huffington Post, and was picked up by dozens of news organizations and sites nationally. And, in so doing, I continued to defend both Mr. Mackey’s right (as with any of us) to free speech, criticizing him only as an influential leader leading those who look to him, as myself, astray on facts accepts by 90 and 94% of scientists, depending how the question is phrased. Climate Change is serious, and will effect us all—Republican, Democrat, Progressive, Libertarian. It already is. [...]

  6. [...] This is the question being addressed by the Forest Service as summer-time approaches, camping gear around the state gets dusted off and foresters begin to evaluate which recreational areas in Colorado have been the most affected by the beetle epidemic that is ravaging the forests. [...]

  7. [...] This is the question being addressed by the Forest Service as summer-time approaches, camping gear around the state gets dusted off and foresters begin to evaluate which recreational areas in Colorado have been the most affected by the beetle epidemic that is ravaging the forests. [...]

  8. [...] This is the question being addressed by the Forest Service as summer-time approaches, camping gear around the state gets dusted off and foresters begin to evaluate which recreational areas in Colorado have been the most affected by the beetle epidemic that is ravaging the forests. [...]

  9. IdetsTeen says:

    Pierwszy gosc (pytanie):
    Hello, Do you know maybe something about polish manufacturers of baterie lazienkowe ?
    I wan’t to get some contacts to them. I have some offer ;-) you
    know…

  10. Linda Lewis Linda V Lewis says:

    Replanting a mix of native trees is always the most sane and natural way to restore any forest. Humans do mess things up, with our modern tendency to plant mono-crops, etc. It might be interesting for those who refute climate change to examine the origin of the Colorado pine forest.
    Here on the Atlantic coast of Canada the ocean is 2 degrees warmer than ever before, which makes for fast melting ice, the highest sea levels (I always thought the sea levels would rise equally all around the world–but no!), shell fish dying, and more hurricanes in the fall–challenging times all around!

Leave a Reply