Thursday, October 27, 2005

Beetlemania

Whitebark Pine in danger.

Orange-needled pine, dead as far as the eye could see. “What the hell?” said my friend Steve Gipe, an ER doctor who is not easily excited. “It’s mountain pine beetle,” I said — and this in the last couple of years. The outbreak of this native parasite in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and the Rockies including Canada, is escalating at a rate that is unprecedented. These beetles, combined with an introduced fungus, white pine blister rust, are radically changing the face of forests in the Rockies—and the implications are as big as the landscape.

1 comment:

Marlene said...

The impact of the pine beetle is greatly exacerbated by the extended drought that the West has been experiencing. Without the current drought, the trees would not be so vulnerable to the negative effects of the beetle.