Magazine article American Forests

Beetle-Born Policy

Magazine article American Forests

Beetle-Born Policy

Article excerpt

As summer dragged on this year, officials kept up efforts to stave off further damage from the bark beetles that continue to plague the nation's western forests. Many of the region's national forests have been decimated by the insects. Once the beetles sweep through a forest, dead trees are left standing, and pose a threat to foresters and visitors alike, as well as a threat to infrastructure, such as roads and power lines. The Forest Service estimates that the trees are falling at a rate of 100,000 each day. The dead trees can also increase the threat of wildfire, providing a ready source of fuel.

The beetle's effects have begun to take a toll on local watersheds, prompting utilities and the Forest Service to join forces to continue to provide cities and towns with enough clean water.

Fortunately, some progress has been made to grant further resources to some of the states hit hardest by the beetles. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) sponsored the National Forest Insect and Disease Emergency Act, which would declare an area spanning 12 states as insect and disease areas of emergency. …

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