• Theresa

    I do not deny that the world is warming up, but to blame the beetles on warming, that is a stretch. the beetles have an old age lodgepole forest to trim, there job is to cause the forest to reproduce if fire doesn’t do the job. They generally work in a mosac pattern instead of landscape wide. Fire has been suppressed by man. Trees have a right to die, we seem to think not. But is the enormous amount of dead trees adding to warming, Now that is a good question.
    the story in ponderosa pines is a far different one. the common thread is lack of fire, trees to closely spaced. these are unhealth trees, the beetles are just doing what comes naturally.

  • Alissa Wilson-Williams

    Theresa,

    I don’t believe that I pinned global warming on the pine beetle. If that is what you took away from this post, I apologize. I actually attributed climate change to the flourishing beetle populations; winter temperatures are not dropping low enough for long enough to kill off the beetles and their larvae like they used to. Additionally, warmer temperatures are allowing the critters to infiltrate areas that were previously too cold for them to inhabit.
    As you said, our inability as humans to say ‘burn baby burn’ when it comes to our forests, has supplied the beetles with an all-they-can-eat buffet of mature pines. This, and other factors, are acknowledged in the articles I linked to in the post.
    The intent of my story was to showcase the innovative application of a naturally-occurring pheromone, my commentary on the beetle epidemic in Colorado was intended to briefly inform readers unfamiliar with the plight of the severity of the situation.

    That being said, you may find these scientific papers to be of some interest:

    Mountain Pine Beetle and Forest Carbon Feedback to Climate Change
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v452/n7190/abs/nature06777.html

    Climate Change Induced Invasions by Native and Exotic Pests
    http://www.usu.edu/beetle/documents/Logan06_Abstract.pdf

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    [...] change, according to one author, who explains that – in Colorado, as elsewhere across the West – winter temperatures no longer drop low enough to kill the beetles or their eggs. As an example, she cites daytime [...]