The San Diego Union reports today:
Bugs and diseases are killing trees at an alarming rate across the West, from the spruce forests of Alaska to the oak woodlands near the San Diego-Tijuana border. Several scientists said the growing threat appears linked to global warming.
Yet another local, traditionally conservative media outlet that is outreporting the supposedly liberal mainstream media (see “NBC News ignores climate change, blows the bark beetle story“). This story has an excellent figure I haven’t seen before:
The story also has some data on total U.S. tree mortality I hadn’t seen:
The report said that from 1997 to 2003, insect-and disease-caused tree mortality quadrupled to 12.2 million acres in the United States. It also said the amount of forestland hit by bugs and disease each year is far greater than the amount that burns in wildfires….
Of particular concern in the West are bark beetles, a large group of insects that includes some very aggressive species.
“Several of the current bark-beetle outbreaks across North America are the largest and most severe in recorded history,” said Barbara Bentz, an entomologist for the Forest Service in Utah.
In British Columbia, mountain pine beetles have infested more than 30 million acres.
Climate change is making United States hospitable to a variety of undesirable invasive species:
Over the past six years, the number of invasive bark beetles detected in California has doubled to 20 species. Scientists expect the trend to continue as insects from Mexico and the Southwest spread north.
“We are starting to pick up more cases of Mexican insects coming to the U.S. It really does suggest there’s a pattern” related to climate, said Steven Seybold, who studies insects for the Forest Service in Davis.
Kudos to the San Diego Union for such a thorough and informative story on this important subject.
- Nature on stunning new climate feedback: Beetle tree kill releases more carbon than fires
- Climate-Driven Pest Devours N. American Forests
- Global warming and the California wildfires
- Global warming and the California wildfires — Update
- The NY Times Blows the Wildfire Story
- Wildfire Season Smashes Records — and the Media Keeps Blowing the Story
- Megafires are a Megaworry
- Global Warming = Bush gets Fired