Friday, May 27, 2022

Play

High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.

Play

Education Secretary Cardona calls for action in after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to the U.S. and its allies.

Play

High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

Fueled by Warming Climate, Bark Beetles Chew Up Western Forests

Play

Monday, September 25, 2017   

HELENA, Mont. – Fire won't be the only natural disaster to rip through Montana forests this year.

Another disaster will be using its teeth.

Bark beetles have long been a nuisance for wooded areas of the West, and scientists say climate change is making the land more susceptible to the beetles’ wrath.

Last year, outbreaks devastated nearly 50,000 acres of Treasure State forestland. Since 2000, the beetles have ravaged an area roughly the size of Utah, just in the western states.

Diana Six, a professor of forest entomology and pathology at the University of Montana, says the beetles' steady northward move in recent decades isn't normal.

"It's moving into places where it never was before, and that's all directly related to an increase in temperature,” she states. “Southern pine beetle is moving north. Larch beetle is moving. So, there's every indication that this is not just the normal kind of outbreak behavior. It's very much climate driven."

Six says bark beetles are very sensitive to the environment and that their migration northward is as reliable an indicator of climate change as any other signs or symptoms. She also notes that bark beetles are overrunning forests not just in the West, but around the world.

Six says people rely on forests, perhaps even more than they realize. Forests hold water supplies, clean the air, perform carbon sequestration and maintain biodiversity.

"And economics,” she adds. “I mean, wood products, recreation. Here in Montana, tourism is our number one economic engine.

“So, they're really important and, with more and more threats to the forests, we're going to have more and more problems."

Six laments that when bark beetle outbreaks get rolling, there isn't much to be done.

"In the long term, if we want to actually turn around these outbreaks and do something to really protect our forests, we're going to have to turn around climate change,” she states. “That's the only thing that's really going to make a difference. And of course, that will take some time."





get more stories like this via email

Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …


Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …

Environment

This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …


There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …

Environment

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021