Study finds the insect epidemic may increase ambient levels of VOCs
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — As if millions of acres of dead forests aren’t enough, the waves of bark beetles spreading across the West may also be contributing to increased air pollution in the region.
A new study shows the insects can make trees release up to 20 times more of certain organic substances that foster haze and air pollution in forested areas. The gases, classified as volatile organic compounds — meant to be a defense against the beetles — are released from the beetles’ bore holes.
VOCs are known to contribute to smog and haze that obscures views of natural landscapes in U.S. national parks and other natural areas where tourists flock in summer. The haze may in turn harm human health, reduce visibility and affect climate. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, pine beetles | Tagged: air pollution, bark beetles, Desert Research Institute, forests, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Volatile organic compound | Leave a Comment »