Letting nature take its course has historically been one of the most effective ways to deal with natural disasters, as oftentimes these matters are out of the hands of mankind. Occasionally, however, there are ways to mitigate these occurrences while drawing value from them.
The great pine beetle outbreak of the Rocky Mountain West is a good example. The epidemic has swept across the forests of Colorado and Wyoming, devouring more than 3.5 million acres of forests, and it stretches all the way from Mexico to British Columbia, where more than 40 million acres are infested.
While there’s been no way to stop the epidemic, the worst in recorded history, huge efforts are being made to manage the affected forests to prevent forest fires. The harvested beetle-killed wood is being used for a variety of applications, including unique furniture, wood chips and wood pellets for heat and power production.