Could the mountain pine beetle epidemic and the associated increase in logging be contributing to global warming?
UNBC researcher Art Fredeen believes it’s likely and is conducting research – in partnership with UBC and the B.C. Ministry of Forests and Range – to determine how much of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide will be put into Earth’s atmosphere because of the beetle infestation.
“We’re likely looking at a positive feedback loop. The mountain pine beetle has been favoured by these warm winters linked to climate change,” Fredeen said. “[And] if trees are cut down or killed by the pine beetle, they don’t absorb carbon anymore. Climate change may be a final result.”