Beetles killing trees

Beetles are killing million of trees in the Rockies. Climate change is certainly a major cause. Temperatures are higher and droughts are worse, conditions that favor an explosion of the beetle population. Another cause is the large number of big trees, beetles like to munch on them. The lack of logging and increased fire prevention has led to the growth of dense forests.

The same conditions occur in the mountains in and around Los Angeles. Fires are never allowed to burn. Thus the vegetation and trees get more and more dense, which leads to even greater fuel and fires the next time – as well as more trees for beetles to munch on. Often the priciest housing developments are in precisely those areas too, abutting on a national or state park with lots of highly combustible vegetation close by. Were a fire to get out of control, it would be catastrophic. Forests are never allowed to burn, thus disrupting their natural cycle.

Controlled logging might help in the high mountains, but won’t in areas like the Santa Monica Mountains where there are few trees and instead lots of tinder-dry bushes and undergrowth. Except it’s not really undergrowth, as it can be several feet high.

Add climate climate to a policy (quite understandable) of never letting the fires burn, and you almost guarantee fire disasters and unwanted environmental changes.

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