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A Scientific Review of Causes, Consequences, and Management Alternatives

This report outlines key aspects of bark beetle outbreaks, their relationship to fire risk, and presents alternatives to large scale logging practices. Additionally, it suggests that government efforts to stem the infestation of insects in forests across the American West may be ineffective and are unlikely to mitigate future infestation or decrease wildfire risk. In fact, government efforts to cull and control insect outbreaks, which play “an important role in the development and maintenance of forest,” could have significant short-term and long-term impacts on national roadless forests, according to the report. Currently, state and federal agencies continue to spend millions to battle spreading mountain pine beetles and other insects across western states. In recent years, mountain pine beetles have infested millions of acres in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.

For more information on this issue see: Logging to Control Insects: The Science and Myths Behind Managing Forest Insect “Pests.” A Synthesis of Independently Reviewed Research.

This report was praised as the most comprehensive report of it kind by Mike Dombeck, Chief Emeritus, U.S. Forest Service:

“Scott Hoffman Black’s masterful synthesis of the state-of-the art science on Logging to Control Insects is a must for those who care about forests and forest management. It explodes many of the myths about logging to control insects and demonstrates the need for forest managers to work with and not against nature. This easy to use reference summarizes the latest authoritative research about the natural interactions between forests and forest insect pests, including what has worked to control insects and what has not. It is the most useful publication on the topic of forests and forest pests that I have seen and has my highest recommendation.”

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