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Climate Change and the National Forests of the West

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

I spend the summers in Truckee, CA in the midst of the Tahoe National Forest. This year has been most distressing with the drought, the fires, dislocation of people and animals, and more. I found this article in US Forest Service, Climate Change Resource Center about another impact on our forests: beetles. Here's part of what they said.

Indirect effects of drought on forests can be widespread and devastating. Notable recent examples include insect and pathogen outbreaks (3) and increased wildfire risk (2). Available evidence suggests a nonlinear relationship between drought intensity and bark beetle outbreaks; moderate drought reduces outbreaks whereas long, intense drought can increase it (27). As a consequence of long-term drought and warming in the Western United States, bark beetles are currently the most important biotic agent of tree mortality. Multiple large outbreaks have killed hundreds of millions of trees in recent decades. Host trees weakened by drought allow beetle populations to build. Warming facilitates northward range expansion. In contrast, there is little current evidence for a role of drought in bark beetle outbreaks in coniferous forests of the Eastern United States (28)

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