2015-06-23

Young pine trees face new peril from mountain pine beetle

New research from the University of Alberta's Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences shows that pine beetle attacks not only lead to the death of adult trees, but can also leave the next generation of pine vulnerable to future insect attack.

"The next pine forest is at risk," said Justine Karst, an assistant professor in restoration ecology in the Department of Renewable Resources. She's the co-lead author of a new study with Nadir Erbilgin, Canada Research Chair and associate professor in forest entomology and chemical ecology.

Karst said the beetles, which have damaged or killed more than 47 million hectares of mainly lodgepole pine forests in western North America in the past decade, start an unexpected chain of events that increase the vulnerability of future forests to damage.