2008-08-11

Beetlemania Returns, But Is Decidedly Unwelcome

Mountain pine beetles, an endemic native insect that inhabits the Rocky Mountains, are at epidemic levels in vast areas of North American forest, particularly in Colorado, Montana, parts of Utah, and much of British Columbia. But, is the impact more economical than ecological?

"The whole range of the mountain pine beetle, from Mexico to Canada, is under outbreak," Allan Carroll, an insect ecologist with the Canadian Forest Service in Victoria, B.C. told The Industry Report.

"British Columbia is undergoing the biggest outbreak to date in any part of the mountain beetle range since the 1990s. The area affected is now roughly 36 million acres, about the size of Nepal, or one-and-a-half times as big as Maine or Indiana," Carroll said.