90% of Colorado lodgepole pines may die

This due to the bark beetle which is thriving due to the increasingly mild winters. It’s chomping through the lodgepole pines at an alarming rate, decimating entire forests, killing over 4.8 million trees last year.

A cold snap would kill many of the beetles, but so far that’s not happening.

This photo from a Canadian government site shows the extent of the problem there too. The red trees have been killed by the bark beetle.

Trees killed by bark beetle

  • killing over 4.8 trees last year

    That many, eh?

  • dj

    We’ve had problems with the bark beetle in southern Utah, too. Huge stands of pine have been wiped out. While that’s been good for firewood, one wonders whether the forest still has the resiliency to start from scratch. Hopefully our unusually cold winter (lots of -30 nights) will have slowed the beetles down.

  • Catastrophic fire just waiting to happen. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Pine Bark Beetle moved up through the eastside of the Oregon Cascades and into Washington twelve and fifteen years ago, eventually moving into British Colombia (pictured). Interesting that it is moving up the eastside of The Rockies through Utah and Colorado, as Montana has already reported infestations. Jack Pines are a weed tree linked to the reproduction of the Ponderosa. Stands historically have reached a point of volitility that they burn, or are burned, to open the forest floor up to ponderosa regrowth. If we look at a hundred years of fire suppression as being a statistical extreme then it is unsurprising that nature comes back with something equally extreme to further volitize the stands – the pine bark beetle.

    Of concern here, having survived and cleaned up after (obligatory hat tip to near catastrophic fire) one infestastion, we are now seeing them at the higher elevation. While I’m not sure I’d credit our first round to climate meltdown, this later round is pretty obvious.

    Having grown up out there, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who build houses out there.

  • I watched the pine bark beetle munch it’s way along the front range of Colorado, back in the 70’s. Thanks for this post. I’ve had an interest in Climate Change for some time now. This is just another example in a very profound, and depressing list of already observed events. I’ve collected a ton of examples if anyone want’s any.

    Here’s one of the most depressing :
    Good Bye Little Friends

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