Archive for March, 2010

Bark beetle debate adds fuel to the wildfire

Published on March 5, 2010

By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

Across the Western USA, the complex relationship between forests, logging, wildfires, drought, climate change, and yes, even beetles, remains a controversial challenge for politicians, logging interests, and environmentalists.

Over the past decade, bark beetle outbreaks have added even more fuel to the controversy, as massive tree-eating armies of the insects have chewed through tens of millions of acres of pine forests throughout the West.

Battling beetles may not reduce fire risks — report

Published on March 4, 2010

By Eryn Gable, Land Letter

Tree thinning and logging across millions of acres of Western lodgepole pine and spruce-fir forest is unlikely to reduce fire risk or alleviate future large-scale epidemics of bark beetles, according to a new report prepared by forest ecologists.

“Extensive areas of dead trees have understandably led to widespread concern about the increased risk for forest fires,” said Dominik Kulakowski, one of the report’s authors and a professor of geography and biology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. “This is a logical concern, but the best available science indicates that the occurrence of large fires in lodgepole pine and spruce-fir forests is mainly influenced by climatic conditions, particularly drought.”