2012-11-29

Pine beetles kill forests, builders seek to use the wood

You can't miss it because the devastation runs as far as the eye can see. Driving between Merritt and Kelowna on Highway 97C in British Columbia's southern interior, it is possible to feel a kind of terrible awe while passing mile after mile of rusty-coloured, dead pine forests.

It is the work of one small insect amplified billions of times into a catastrophic infestation, a manmade situation and one of Canada's most graphic indicators of climate change, thanks to hot, dry summers and mild winters. The mountain pine beetle creates these enormous swathes of dead forest when the insects burrow into bark and outer layers of the trees, killing them.

Such forests can be found all over the province and now into Alberta and in several U.S. states.