Pine beetle infestation whittling down western forests

It isn’t a pretty sight. Since the late 1990s, throughout the Rocky Mountain West, majestic high country vistas that were recently carpeted with green forests have been rapidly transformed into millions of acres of red rust and yellow-tinged dead and dying pine trees over a massive region that extends from New Mexico to British Columbia.

The culprit is a tenacious little native pest known as the mountain pine beetle that measures no larger than a pencil eraser.  But, despite its diminutive size, this insect has proven to be nearly unstoppable in its ability to chew through vast tracts of mature lodgepole, ponderosa, Scotch and limber pine trees.

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