Posted on February 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Aerial surveys help track forest changes over time
Nearly every mature spruce has been killed by spruce beetle in this drainage on the Rio Grande National Forest.Photo: Brian Howell.
Spruce beetles are spreading quickly in southwestern Colorado. Graph courtesy USFS.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — There’s good news and bad news from Colorado’s forests. Mountain pine beetle activity has faded to the lowest level since 1996, but spruce beetles continue to spread in the San Juans and in northwestern Colorado.
The spruce beetle outbreak was detected on 485,000 acres in 2014, compared to 398,000 acres across the state in 2013, according to the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado State Forest Service. The annual aerial survey by the two agencies shows that the spruce beetle outbreak expanded to 253,000 new acres. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Environment, Forest health, forests, pine beetles, pine beetles and wildfires, US Forest Service | Tagged: aerial forest survey, Colorado, Forest health, forests, mountain pine beetles, spruce beetles | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
State report details status of insect activities
Spruce beetles are widely active across the mountains of southern Colorado.
FRISCO — Windstorms, mild winters and drought are the key factors in the continued spread of spruce beetles, which have become the dominant change agent in Colorado forests the past few years.
According to the latest annual forest health report compiled by state forest experts, spruce beetles were active across 398,000 acres in 2013, affected more than triple the amount of acreage than mountain pine beetles. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, forests, Summit County news | Tagged: Colorado, environments, forests, pine beetles, spruce beetles | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Pine beetle infestation slows, but spruce beetles continue to spread
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — There’s good news and bad news for Colorado forests, according to state and federal officials, who said last week that the mountain pine beetle epidemic slowed dramatically in 2013, while spruce beetles continued to spread.
Statewide, mountain pine beetles were active on 97,000 acres in 2013, the lowest acreage of active infestation in 15 years. Since 1996, mountain pine beetles have killed trees across 3.4 million acres.
Spruce beetle were active on 398,000 acres, expanding by 216,000 new acres in 2013, compared to 183,000 new acres in 2012. The total area affected by this beetle since 1996 has reached more than 1.1 million acres. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, forests, pine beetles, pine beetles and wildfires, US Forest Service | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado news, Environment, forests, spruce beetles | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Long-term climate shifts linked with historic spruce beetle episodes in Colorado
A Colorado spruce forest near Shrine Pass, Colorado.
Spruce beetles are spreading rapidly and killing trees in the southern Rockies.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The current spruce beetle outbreak in Colorado’s high country has the potential to grow larger in scope than the recent mountain pine beetle epidemic that killed mature lodgepole pines across millions of acres.
And the trigger of for the spruce beetles is drought that’s linked with long-term changes in sea-surface temperatures in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, a trend that is expected to continue for decades, according to a new study by scientists with the University of Colorado, Boulder.
The new study is important because it shows that drought is a better predictor of spruce beetle outbreaks in northern Colorado than temperature alone, said Sarah Hart, a CU-Boulder doctoral student in geography. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Environment, Forest health, forests | Tagged: Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, climate, Colorado, Forest health, forests, southern rockies, spruce beetles | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 31, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Global warming is likely to increase insect populations and make trees more susceptible to attacks
So far, high-elevation spruce-fir forests in Summit County have been relatively free of spruce beetles, with the exception of a hotspot in the Baylor Park area, near Ski Sunlight. Spruce beetle activity south of Breckenridge has slowed down. Bob Berwyn photo.
Spruce beetles are spreading quickly in the San Juans.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The mountain pine beetle epidemic has run its course in the Colorado high country, but there’s a new bug on the rise.
Spruce beetles have killed huge swaths of mature spruce beetles in southwestern Colorado, especially on the Rio Grande National Forest — and they appear to be moving north.
Researchers and resource managers are trying to get ahead of the curve to anticipate how far the outbreak will spread in Colorado’s 4.7 million acres of spruce-fir forest, and how the bugs may affect wildfire behavior and ecosystem services in a zone where large fires are rare. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, Forest health, forests, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Colorado, Environment, forests, global warming, spruce beetles, spruce-fir forests, Thomas Veblen | 3 Comments »
Posted on February 6, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Spruce beetle infestation grows in southwestern mountains
Aerial surveys show that spruce beetles are spreading in SW Colorado, while pine beetles slow their attack in the northern and central part of the state.
The spread of mountain pine beetles slowed to levels last seen in 2003.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Mountain pine beetle activity in Colorado dropped dramatically in 2012, to the lowest level in 10 years, according to state and federal officials who this week released the the results of their latest aerial surveys.
Mountain pine beetles are still spreading across parts of the mountains between Estes Park and Leadville, but new activity was reported on just 31,000 acres, down from 141,000 acres in 2011. Since the outbreak started in 1996, beetles killed trees across more than 3.4 million acres, but it’s important to remember that not every single tree died.
In the aftermath of the infestation, foresters are finding that pockets of younger trees survived the wave of beetles, even in the hardest-hit areas. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, Forest health, forests, pine beetles | Tagged: Colorado, forest heath, forests, Mountain pine beetle, pine beetles, spruce beetles, U.S. Forest Service | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 16, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Pine beetles running out of food, spruce beetle infestation growing
Mountain pine beetle mortality is on the decline across the western U.S.
Spruce and fir mortality is on the increase in Colorado.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Tree mortality from insects and diseases has dropped dramatically in the past few years, mainly because mountain pine beetles are running out of food, according to a new report from the U.S. Forest Service.
But the next significant cycle of insect infestation has already reached epidemic proportions in the south-central Rockies, where spruce beetles are devastating stands of mature spruce trees. The spruce beetle outbreak has been especially intense in the San Juans, where the bugs have killed almost every single mature tree from the creek bottoms all the way up to high-elevation krummholz.
It will be interesting to see if the numbers go back up after this summer’s drought weakened trees across the region.
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Environment, Forest health, forests, pine beetles, US Forest Service | Tagged: 2011 forest mortality, drought, Environment, forests, Mountain pine beetle, pine beetles, spruce beetles, United States Forest Service | 4 Comments »