2011-07-09

Bugs a growing threat to forests, US reports

Marauding insects have become a leading threat to the nation's forests over the past decade, a problem made worse by drought and a warming climate, a federal report says.

Bark beetles, engraver beetles and gypsy moths are the primary culprits behind a threefold increase in forestland mortality caused by insect attacks between 2003 and 2007, according to a U.S. Forest Service report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The volume of forests in the lower 48 states killed by bugs totaled 37 million acres during the period, up from 12 million during the previous five years. Millions of additional acres have perished since.

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