A Hundred Years of Bark Beetles' Feasts

The owner of the Climate Progress blog laments NBC’s forgetfulness in mentioning global warming as the culprit for forest destruction in Colorado by mountain pine beetles.

However, there is something else to ponder:

(a) From the New York Times, 9/25/1998
“[Because of mountain pine beetles] By the year 2000, most of the lodgepole pine in Oregon ”will be dead, whether it is harvested or not’, said Ed Blaydon, a marketing specialist for the four national forests in southeastern Oregon.” (Lodgepole pines are alive and well in Oregon in 2008)

(b) From the New York Times, 6/6/1989
“[in Summit County, Colorado, because of mountain pine beetles] in 1986 [...] green vistas turned rust”

(c) From the New York Times, 12/6/1932
“Director Horace Albright reports that he is greatly worried about the situation in the Yellowstone, where the mountain-pine beetle threatens the destruction of the lodgepole pine, which constitutes 80 per cent of the park’s forests”

(d) From the New York Times, 10/6/1907
“the mountain [pine] beetle refuses anything short of a high altitude. Here it abounds in destructive numbers, especially in the West: and as fast as it travels through those salubrious regions down go vast quantities of pine”

If one had read the article of 101 years ago, one would think we would have no trees left whatsoever by now. It didn’t happen. One worders why.

ps the not-so-mild 2008 winter has not killed as many beetles as expected. perhaps temperature is not that important.