Bark Beetle

Rae Ellen Bichell / Mountain West News Bureau

Walking through forests across the Mountain West, you might not realize you’re walking past historical artifacts big enough to crush you. These artifacts are pine and cedar trees that have had their bark peeled off in a special way. The trees are a bit of a mystery to archaeologists, and one they’re running out of time to solve.

Dr. Dan West / Colorado State Forest Service

Bark beetle devastation has been an ongoing issue in Colorado's forests for years and remains a concern into 2018. The latest Colorado State Forest Service report says more than 200,000 acres of active infestations were observed in high-elevation spruce-fir forests in Colorado.

U.S. Forest Service

Take a drive or a walk through many of Colorado's mountains, and you'll see a whole lot of dead trees. Mostly lodgepole pine killed by mountain pine beetle, the gray trees look like prime kindling, some standing, many fallen like so many pickup sticks across the landscape. The mountain pine beetle has killed 46 million acres of the West's forests, leaving a scar no forest visitor can miss.

Conventional wisdom has long held that these beetle-killed forests are more likely to burn. They certainly look that way. But scientists have been questioning the idea that such forests burn more for a few years. A 2013 study from Colorado State University pointed the finger at drought, not bark beetles, for increased wildfire. Now a new, more comprehensive study from a team of scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder has found that forests with widespread beetle kill are not more likely to burn.

Reghan Cloudman / USFS

Damage from a severe thunderstorm May 23 near Red Feather Lakes is much more extensive than the previous estimate of just 200 trees down.

U.S. Forest Service

Temperature alone can’t predict a spruce beetle outbreak. That’s according to a new study published online in the journal Ecology

Confluence Energy

Have you thought much about the wood pellet industry lately?

Nathan Heffel / KUNC

The Colorado State Forest Service released its 2012 report on the health of the state’s forests Wednesday. The annual report highlights major insect and disease concerns across the state.

Robert Simmon / NASA Earth Observatory

An annual aerial survey of forest health in Colorado shows the mountain pine beetle epidemic is slowing dramatically, at the same time the spruce beetle outbreak is expanding.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service

A new study suggests that, contrary to conventional wisdom, bark beetles do not play a major role in large-scale wildfires in Colorado and other western regions.

Bark Beetle Causing ‘Viewshed Contamination’

Sep 17, 2012
Luke Runyon

After weathering the worst of the housing bubble burst, Colorado’s housing market is on the mend. But in pockets of the state there’s an entirely different problem that’s been afflicting individual homeowners and home values.