An aerial image clearly shows reddish-brown areas of trees killed by beetles in contrast with stands of green aspens north of Highway 6 in the vicinity of Keystone.
Forest experts concerned about Front Range impacts after seeing an explosion of new beetle activity in Larimer County in 2009
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Although the pace of pine beetle attacks in Summit County may have slowed slightly last year, the overall spread of the insect infestation shows no signs of slowing in the southern Rockies, forest experts said Friday as they released the results of aerial surveys from 2009.
Another half million acres of lodgepole pines were hit by the tiny bugs last year, and there are indications that the insects are spreading into new areas with vast stands of as-yet untouched lodgepoles. Most alarming was the rapid spread into the Front Range, especially in Larimer County, where 220,000 acres of trees were affected.
In Montana, 2.7 million acres of lodgepoles were infested by pine beetles in 2009, according to a story in the Billings Gazette.
Federal and state foresters said that, if the pine beetles decide to attack ponderosa pines in a big way, Front Range forests could be in big trouble. Ponderosas are also in the five-needle pine family, but thus far, the beetles have been spreading mostly through lodgepole forests west of the Continental Divide during the current outbreak.
Filed under: Environment, Forest health, global warming, pine beetles and wildfires, public lands, recreation, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: aerial surveys, Colorado ski areas, conservation, Environment, Forest health, forests, insects, lodgepole pines, mountain pine beetles, public lands, Summit County News, U.S. Forest Service, White River National Forest | 2 Comments »