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6-5 IAN Bark Beetles
by David Sparks, Ph.D., click here for bio
Program: Today's Idaho Ag News
Date: June 05, 12
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Many Forests Feeling the Heat from Climate Change. As the climate gets warmer, many forests are feeling the heat. Impacts range from increased forest fire hazards and tree mortality to detrimental beetle outbreaks and alterations to leaf abundance and bloom. When forest cover or composition changes, there are impacts to the availability of wood products, clean water, recreational opportunities, and habitats for many plants and animals. Entomologist Matt Grieshop has some thoughts about the devastating bark beetle: “There are a couple of things going on with bark beetles. In some cases it comes down to biological invasion. As our climate has changed and gotten a little bit warmer, species of insects are starting to move around and respond to that. So I think that may be one explanation why we are seeing so much activity with the bark beetle. As winters become milder some species are able to expand their range and move into areas where they previously haven’t been so well established. Another argument I have heard, and I have heard this in the context of orchards, is that the move throughout the 70s and 80s has now been looked at as a big mistake. For the forest service to basically not allow any kind of fires led to a lot of fuel buildup. All the big fires like in Yellowstone can really attest to that and I think forest managers have seen that letting fuel build up on the forest floor is a real problem. At any rate it may be that diseased trees and newly dead trees for some of these species may be a good place for them to build up.
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