Trees that were removed after being killed by mountain pine beetles; Photo by Forest Service - Northern Region via Flickr Creative Commons
The mountain pine beetle infestations are spreading. As filmmaker Michael Pellegatti states, "To date millions of acres of forests and billions of trees are dead and there is no end in sight. Some estimates predict that by 2013, 80% of the North American forests could be gone. In addition, we are losing forests that otherwise provide a carbon sink for our production of greenhouse gases, and as the trees die, they emit more Carbon Dioxide back into the atmosphere." But what are the ripple effects of the pine beetles on other species sharing the ecosystem, and what can be done to slow their spread? Watch this short documentary by Pellegatti, which details the problem of pine beetles. The short video outlines the changes that have made pine beetle infestations possible, and so deadly.
"With global warming evident in many places around the world, the forest of North America are undergoing huge changes. The pine beetle and pine trees have co-evolved together and until the past 2-3 decades, the numbers of beetles have been kept in check by very cold winters that would kill the beetles, thus limiting their lifespan and ability to reproduce. However, with warmer temperatures during the winters, the beetles are surviving in astounding numbers and are killing the forests of the western US and Canada."
The frightening conclusion we might see as pine beetles take over is a serious wake-up call. The documentary is a perfect video to share with anyone just learning about the impacts climate change has on ecosystems when barriers break down between species.
Follow Jaymi on Twitter for more stories like this
More on the Pine Beetle
Could Rush Limbaugh Deter Pine Bark Beetles? (Video)
Beetle Mania Spreads From Canada, Comes To Denver
NASA Satellites Reveal Connection Between Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation and Wild Fires (Video)