Forests fall to beetle outbreak

Forests fall to beetle outbreak

There are 189 comments on the Scientific American story from Aug 4, 2009, titled Forests fall to beetle outbreak. In it, Scientific American reports that:

From the vantage point of an 80-foot tower rising above the trees, the Wyoming vista seems idyllic: snow-capped peaks in the distance give way to shimmering green spruce.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Scientific American.

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Northie

Spokane, WA

#1 Aug 4, 2009
Yet another feedback. More warming means more pine beetles, which kill more trees and create more tinder, which turns forests from carbon sinks into carbon emitters, which causes more warming...

...which melts more Arctic permafrost, which releases more methane, which causes more warming...

...which melts the icecaps, which exposes darker land and water, which absorbs more solar energy, which causes more warming...

...which kills zooplankton at the sea surface, which reduces the ability of the seas to absorb carbon, which causes more warming...

...and so on, and so on...

“EnvironMENTAList ”

Since: Feb 07

Near Detroit

#2 Aug 4, 2009
Northie wrote:
Yet another feedback. More warming means more pine beetles, which kill more trees and create more tinder, which turns forests from carbon sinks into carbon emitters, which causes more warming...
...which melts more Arctic permafrost, which releases more methane, which causes more warming...
...which melts the icecaps, which exposes darker land and water, which absorbs more solar energy, which causes more warming...
...which kills zooplankton at the sea surface, which reduces the ability of the seas to absorb carbon, which causes more warming...
...and so on, and so on...
Go burn a with climate coward. The sky isn't falling and stop scaring our kids.
Raptor in Michigan

Detroit, MI

#3 Aug 4, 2009
Northie wrote:
Yet another feedback. More warming means more pine beetles, which kill more trees and create more tinder, which turns forests from carbon sinks into carbon emitters, which causes more warming...
...which melts more Arctic permafrost, which releases more methane, which causes more warming...
...which melts the icecaps, which exposes darker land and water, which absorbs more solar energy, which causes more warming...
...which kills zooplankton at the sea surface, which reduces the ability of the seas to absorb carbon, which causes more warming...
...and so on, and so on...
"More warming means more pine beetles, which kill more trees"......which provides more hollows and tree cavities for woodpeckers and other birds and wildlife to use for nesting, shelter and keeping warm on cold nights.....which increases the currently struggling wildlife populations or keeps them at sustainable levels.....while increasing the amount of sunlight that hits the forest floor...which germinates the seeds that have been sitting dormant for many years...which leads to a lush carpet of wildflowers...which attracts pollinators and meadow-loving species like bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, meadowlarks, Indigo buntings, Goldfinches, etc.......and provides them with the pollen, seeds, host plants and cover they need to survive, nest and raise their young.... which in turn provides a healthy food source for important predators like hawks and owls..etc,,etc,,etc..and then many years and many phases of growth later, we once again have a beautiful, lush old growth forest.
Northie

Spokane, WA

#4 Aug 4, 2009
Raptor in Michigan wrote:
<quoted text>
"More warming means more pine beetles, which kill more trees"......which provides more hollows and tree cavities for woodpeckers and other birds and wildlife to use for nesting, shelter and keeping warm on cold nights.....which increases the currently struggling wildlife populations or keeps them at sustainable levels.....while increasing the amount of sunlight that hits the forest floor...which germinates the seeds that have been sitting dormant for many years...which leads to a lush carpet of wildflowers...which attracts pollinators and meadow-loving species like bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, meadowlarks, Indigo buntings, Goldfinches, etc.......and provides them with the pollen, seeds, host plants and cover they need to survive, nest and raise their young.... which in turn provides a healthy food source for important predators like hawks and owls..etc,,etc,,etc..and then many years and many phases of growth later, we once again have a beautiful, lush old growth forest.
You're absolutely correct...right up to the part about regaining lush, old-growth forest. In many cases, that doesn't come back. Drought and fires are turning many Intermountain West forests into scrubland--and into lots more atmospheric carbon.
frank miller

United States

#5 Aug 4, 2009
What are you some kind of nut case 'Northie,
Spokane, WA #1 and #4?? " More warming means more pine beetles..."??? Oh so I see, according to your
'logic' the bitter cold Wyoming winters should have killed all those beetles, and their larvae!

Conversely reframing an aspect always brings out the fallacy in an argument Northie! Have you ever
thought to be little more cynical? Perhaps log-
gers allow it to happen, as an excuse not a rea-
son to stop the infestations! After all Coloradans
have just won a court case whence their local Fire
Departments wanted to cut down all their magestic beetle infested trees, around their properties,
stopping the perhaps good intentioned FD on their tracks! Hoping some Agricultural College, and University would come up with a fumigant!
Cotton has always been plagued with boll weevil
beetles destroying the cotton seed pod, for centuries! I'm sure that problem has been chemi-
cally/organically mitigated, here in the U.S. and other countries! So why not with the pine beetles!
Obviously something in the bark attracts the
critters, and an antisexual hormone randering
adult beetle larva in the Winter asexual may
be a start Northie!? Or something like that!
F.M.

frank miller

United States

#6 Aug 4, 2009
Correction to my #5 post:"...Perhaps loggers allow it to happen, as an excuse, not a reason
to do nothing to stop the infestations..."
F.M.
Raptor in Michigan

Okemos, MI

#7 Aug 4, 2009
Northie wrote:
<quoted text>
You're absolutely correct...right up to the part about regaining lush, old-growth forest. In many cases, that doesn't come back. Drought and fires are turning many Intermountain West forests into scrubland--and into lots more atmospheric carbon.
Yeah, but this thread is regarding a beetle, not droughts and fires. In some cases you may be right. Some fires burn SO hot that it can sterilize the land and nothing will grow back. But this happens when fires are suppressed for years and years and there is lots of fuel on the forest floor caused by many years of leaf litter. Regular fires will keep a forest healthy and will go through the stages from meadow to thick brush to second growth forest and eventually old growth. Each habitat type is important to a diversity of wildlife. Even the scrubland you mention can be teeming with wildlife. BTW- droughts are also part of nature.
Raptor in Michigan

Okemos, MI

#8 Aug 4, 2009
I finally read the article. I could tell right away it was going to this global warming BS. This paragraph made me cringe:(I picture everyone cutting down their dead trees.)

"In the terminology of trees and carbon, a healthy forest is a net "sink," with trees storing carbon as they grow. When they die and rot they "emit" carbon back into the atmosphere, and so a dead or dying forest becomes a "net source" of greenhouse gas, meaning it emits more carbon dioxide than it stores."

So I offer this:
Nearly a third of all forest creatures depend on standing dead or fallen trees for their survival. ANIMAL INNS provide shelter, nest sites, and feeding areas for over 1200 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles; over 60% of which feed on insects. These insect-eating species act as natural biological regulators to dampen the effects of insect outbreaks in forested lands, thereby performing an important ecosystem function. Fish benefit from trees that have fallen into stream channels.

Several billion acres of forestlands across the United States, including managed forests in industrial and non-industrial private ownership and publicly administered lands, provide potential habitat for cavity-using wildlife. These species contribute to maintaining healthy forests. We have an obligation, as land stewards for long-term sustainable forest, to inform citizens and land-owners of the value of dead, dying, and hollow trees. We must actively encourage the maintenance of some habitat in locations where it can be done safely, with low risk of human injury or property damage; and in conjunction with a sustainable woods product industry.
http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/nr/wildlife/animalinn...
Earthling

Almería, Spain

#9 Aug 4, 2009
Yet another scare story to add to the ever growing list of over 600, caused by that 1ºF temp rise over the last 100 years.

I live in a region that is a lot warmer than WY and our trees, pines included, are doing fine.

One thing I've learned in my 20 years here in a warm region of Spain, is that a hot summer kills more insects than a cold winter.

NB: I agree with Raptor and Frank, this GW BS becomes more ridiculous by the day, only the brothers Grimm could have done better.
LessHypeMoreFact

Toronto, Canada

#10 Aug 5, 2009
Earthling wrote:
Yet another scare story to add to the ever growing list
We know you are a coward and terrified by life, but remember.. "a coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man dies but once."
Earthling wrote:
of over 600, caused by that 1ºF temp rise over the last 100 years.
Closer to 1C and that is 15% of the change in global temperaturs of an ice age or the PETM. Not critical yet, but not insignificant either.
Earthling wrote:
I live in a region that is a lot warmer than WY and our trees, pines included, are doing fine.
As observed by the blind, dumb and stupid. Spain has had a MAJOR change in rainfall. That you missed it probably means you don't like rain. But the farmers are not so protected and oblivious.

"The research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, showed that precipitation in March on the peninsula fell by 8 percent from 1950 to 2002, and increased by 3 percent in April and May during the same period."
Earthling wrote:
One thing I've learned in my 20 years here in a warm region of Spain, is that a hot summer kills more insects than a cold winter.
One has to be boggled by the entire idea of you learning anything. Usually you just pull it from you rectum.
Earthling wrote:
NB: I agree with Raptor and Frank, this GW BS becomes more ridiculous by the day, only the brothers Grimm could have done better.
I agree only that you are not an objective source of information on ANYTHING.
Earthling

Almería, Spain

#11 Aug 5, 2009
Yet another scare story to add to the ever growing list of over 600, caused by that 1ºF temp rise over the last 100 years.

I live in a region that is a lot warmer than WY and our trees, pines included, are doing fine.

One thing I've learned in my 20 years here in a warm region of Spain, is that a hot summer kills more insects than a cold winter.

NB: I agree with Raptor and Frank, this GW BS becomes more ridiculous by the day, only the brothers Grimm could have done better.
LessHypeMoreFact

Toronto, Canada

#12 Aug 5, 2009
Earthling wrote:
Yet another scare story to add to the ever growing list of over 600, caused by that 1ºF temp..
Reposting the same cr*p doesn't make it any more valid.
Northie

Spokane, WA

#13 Aug 5, 2009
Raptor in Michigan wrote:
<quoted text>
Yeah, but this thread is regarding a beetle, not droughts and fires. In some cases you may be right. Some fires burn SO hot that it can sterilize the land and nothing will grow back. But this happens when fires are suppressed for years and years and there is lots of fuel on the forest floor caused by many years of leaf litter. Regular fires will keep a forest healthy and will go through the stages from meadow to thick brush to second growth forest and eventually old growth. Each habitat type is important to a diversity of wildlife. Even the scrubland you mention can be teeming with wildlife. BTW- droughts are also part of nature.
No, this thread is about forest decline in the US and Canadian Intermountain West, which is due to both more bark beetles and more drought. The two go hand in hand; warming expands the range of beetles, which kill more trees, which, with more drought, makes forests more likely to burn and turn to scrubland.

As much as you and I enjoy goldfinches, wildlife is not the issue. The discussion is the growing realization that forest decline due to insects and drought is one more feedback boosting global warming beyond IPCC forecasts.

This is THE hot subject in climate science, as it were. For a survey, read Fred Pearce's recent, "With Speed and Violence: Why scientists fear tipping points in climate change."
Earthling

Almería, Spain

#14 Aug 5, 2009
LessHypeMoreFact wrote:
Reposting the same cr*p doesn't make it any more valid.
It's absolutely valid and will be until global warming starts.

You really do have an obsession with faeces.
frank miller

United States

#15 Aug 5, 2009
Oh 'More Cobbling DisinformationFacts, Toronto
Canada #10: Put a sock in it will you! This is about beetles infestations, just like the bed bugs lice you seem to revel in! We have already covered the CO2AGW dilemna in great details since
about February 2007 to 2009! Now we are focusing on the DISGENEOUS propaganda effect/causations,
you get that?
It still snows in New York in the Winter! It still is very humid in Charleston, New Orleans,
Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Lisbon! It still is dry
in Los Angeles, Tuscon, Pheonix, Bagdhad, Tuni-
sia, Morroco! It still rains practically everyday
in London, Sydney, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hong Kong,
Manila. It still is cold in Anchorage Alaska! The amout of carbon dioxide is still to 2 significant figures by volume 0.03% to 0.04% since the last 3 Centuries, according to all the Chem./Physics
reference books up to 2009! Get that? With all the excess reprecipated back to Earth, water ways,
oceans as weak carbonic acid {H2CO3} you breathe out every second {CO2 + moisture from your lungs}!

We can't go back to the horse-and-buggy idiot!
What we can DO is reduce engine sizes in the U.S., substititute some coal/oil/gas power plants to solar, wind farms! Do extensive Reforestation
to absorb HEAT, CO2 {6% to 8% in 15 years} which by that time Extensive Reforestation will mature, an dtake over the Natural task trees were meant to do! Get that? It will also restore the Oxygen, consumed by burning fuels into CO2! And release
cooling water vapor back into the atmosphere!
So now are you happy! This is about beetle
infestations! Get with the program "More Hype
Than Facts" will all respect!
F.M.



LessHypeMoreFact

Toronto, Canada

#17 Aug 5, 2009
Northie wrote:
<quoted text>
You're absolutely correct...right up to the part about regaining lush, old-growth forest. In many cases, that doesn't come back. Drought and fires are turning many Intermountain West forests into scrubland--and into lots more atmospheric carbon.
I believe that this relates to the 'moisture pump' effect. The transpiration of trees enhances onshore breezes which transports more moisture to the trees, which means more transpiration.

http://tinyurl.com/lv7va9

As forests grow from this they push the effect farther and farther inland, making relatively lush old growth forest.

But cut down the trees and you stop the moisture pump effect, so it all has to regrow from the coast inward, taking a LONG time. Ergo, the inland old growth tends to stay dry and will not regenerate as the coastal forests are continuously harvested and never get a chance to rebuild.
LessHypeMoreFact

Toronto, Canada

#18 Aug 5, 2009
Earthling wrote:
<quoted text>It's absolutely valid and will be until global warming starts.
You really do have an obsession with faeces.
You are the one continuously dappling in crap ( which is not necessarily faeces per se). Lots of things are crap because they are totally wrong and verging on imbecilic.

That I point it out is not MY problem.
Raptor in Michigan

United States

#19 Aug 5, 2009
Northie wrote:
<quoted text>
No, this thread is about forest decline in the US and Canadian Intermountain West, which is due to both more bark beetles and more drought. The two go hand in hand; warming expands the range of beetles, which kill more trees, which, with more drought, makes forests more likely to burn and turn to scrubland.
On the other hand, more warming could mean the migrant birds from the tropics,(Wood Thrush, Cerulean Warbler, etc. which are suffering huge population declines, BTW,) might have a longer summer in which to reproduce, leave more offspring and bring back healthy, sustainable populations.
Northie wrote:
<quoted text>
As much as you and I enjoy goldfinches, wildlife is not the issue. The discussion is the growing realization that forest decline due to insects and drought is one more feedback boosting global warming beyond IPCC forecasts.
But your sources fail to mention the BIGGEST environmental threat we currently face is HABITAT DESTRUCTION. Without food, shelter and places to raise young, thousands of species are declining to the point of being in danger of extinction, many in our life times. And since the ecosystem is so fragile, this could be detrimental to the environment and to us. Do you have a clue how many billions of tons of insects are eaten by tropical birds that come here for the summer for the sole purpose of raising babies? Insects ARE the main course for these long-distance migrants. We would be overrun by insects without them.
They would consume all of our food, without the use of pesticides.
Northie wrote:
<quoted text>
This is THE hot subject in climate science, as it were. For a survey, read Fred Pearce's recent, "With Speed and Violence: Why scientists fear tipping points in climate change."
Furthermore, we've only been keeping records of temperatures for 150 years. That is hardly enough time to come to ANY conclusions about ANYTHING with an earth that is 4 billion years old. Besides, we know glaciers used to cover much of the continent, so I conclude, if the earth is warming, it has done so for a long time and is totally natural. This earth is constantly changing. Nothing we can do to change that fact.
Raptor in Michigan

United States

#20 Aug 5, 2009
frank miller wrote:
Oh 'More Cobbling DisinformationFacts, Toronto
Canada #10: Put a sock in it will you! This is about beetles infestations, just like the bed bugs lice you seem to revel in! We have already covered the CO2AGW dilemna in great details since
about February 2007 to 2009! Now we are focusing on the DISGENEOUS propaganda effect/causations,
you get that?
It still snows in New York in the Winter! It still is very humid in Charleston, New Orleans,
Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Lisbon! It still is dry
in Los Angeles, Tuscon, Pheonix, Bagdhad, Tuni-
sia, Morroco! It still rains practically everyday
in London, Sydney, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hong Kong,
Manila. It still is cold in Anchorage Alaska! The amout of carbon dioxide is still to 2 significant figures by volume 0.03% to 0.04% since the last 3 Centuries, according to all the Chem./Physics
reference books up to 2009! Get that? With all the excess reprecipated back to Earth, water ways,
oceans as weak carbonic acid {H2CO3} you breathe out every second {CO2 + moisture from your lungs}!
We can't go back to the horse-and-buggy idiot!
What we can DO is reduce engine sizes in the U.S., substititute some coal/oil/gas power plants to solar, wind farms! Do extensive Reforestation
to absorb HEAT, CO2 {6% to 8% in 15 years} which by that time Extensive Reforestation will mature, an dtake over the Natural task trees were meant to do! Get that? It will also restore the Oxygen, consumed by burning fuels into CO2! And release
cooling water vapor back into the atmosphere!
So now are you happy! This is about beetle
infestations! Get with the program "More Hype
Than Facts" will all respect!
F.M.
I was agreeing with you up to the point where you said "wind farms." -HUGE environmental damage by these things. Lots of habitat being destroyed (millions of acres) by them and lots (millions) of birds and bats killed at wind turbines. Lots more land destroyed getting the power from the wind farms to the cities where it's needed,(powerlines must run for many miles), it must be windy to use the power and no way to store wind for calm days.
www.wind-watch.org .
frank miller

United States

#21 Aug 5, 2009
Kenya is building wind farms,'Raptor in Michigan
#20'! Lets hope they got the word about rain-forest preservation! As you know Africa is one continent where that rain forest depletion practice has been 'de- rigueur' from centuries of colonization! Madagascar is losing its rainforest
for rose-wood furniture fabrications, at the expense of its rare wild-life! Rain-forest preservation {we have lost 36 % of Brazil's Amazon} is critical because they act like reflux distilling apparatus, continuously reprecipitating CO2 as carbonic acid! The tightly woven high upper canopies, not only prevent daily
rain showers from reaching the ground floor,
and leaching precious soil minerals, nitrogen
fixing bacteria { same principle as H2CO3 in
rains,snows scrubbing; ..but in this instance
its the conversion of inert atmospheric Nitrogen
{N2} converted to water soluble nitrogen oxides,
by lightning storms, back to Earth lands, and oceans to be fixed by soil bacteria into plant
absorbable protein precursors in the former; and into marine/aquatic life protein precursors!}

Converting rain-forests anywhere in the World to low growing, no-canopy knee high soybeans for bio-diesel fuels, and 12 feet high sugar cane for
85% fuel ethanol, also allows soil erosion, mineral leaching, etc...
So to get back to your concern on wind farms
spoiling lands, I would suggest that soy-beans,
sugar beets could be grown here in the U.S.
where these wind-mills are scheduled to be, as the EPA has already mandated forest/vegatation
protections!!
But my other concern is the HEAT, from the fermentation of sugar cane, beets! 353,000,000
B.t.u.s {94,000,000 kilocalories} per 1000
gallons of fermented ethanol {C2H5OH}!!!!
Point well noted Raptor!
F.M.

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