Bark Beetles a Boon for Biodiversity

Bark Beetles a Boon for Biodiversity

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Bark beetles driven by drought may be leaving millions of dead trees behind, but they may also leave behind more diverse, complex and healthy forests than Northern Colorado has seen in more than a century.

A U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station study concludes that Colorado’s bark beetle infestation is in the process of creating more biologically diverse forests than exist today and that the idea that the beetles are killing them just isn’t true. Dense pine forests composed almost entirely of mature lodgepole pine trees have been hit the hardest by the beetles, which were able to spread through those homogeneous forests because drought stressed out the mature trees and warmer temperatures allowed the beetles to survive the winter, the study says.

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