Friday, July 08, 2011

Forest-killing bug attacks increased by threefold from 2003 to 2007, federal report says

A U.S. Forest Service report obtained by The Associated Press describes "a threefold increase in forestland mortality caused by insect attacks between 2003 and 2007," due to milder winters and Western drought, AP's John Flesher reports. (AP photo by David Zalubowski: pine beetle damage in Colorado)

Bugs such as bark beetles, engraver beetles and gypsy moths killed 37 million acres of forest in 2007, up from 12 million in 2003, according to the report. "When defoliated trees are added to those killed outright, the acreage significantly damaged by insects since 2003 totals about 50 million — 8 percent of forest area in the lower 48 states," Flesher writes. "About 13 million acres were scorched by fires during the same period, less than 2 percent of all forest acreage." (Read more)

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