THE PINE BEETLE EPIDEMIC
The pine beetle has devastated vast portions of BC forests, rendering tons of prime wood useless for the conventional lumber industry, creating a tremendous forest fire risk and causing the release of massive amounts of CO2. The mountain pine beetle population in North America has been spiking in recent years due to global warming. These critters usually die off in the cold winter, but rising winter temperatures have allowed them to reproduce at record-breaking rates. The beetles attack the trees by tunneling into the bark and introducing fungi. Right away the trees’ ability to process nutrients and obtain water is cut off, the trees die, and the devastation begins.
SMALL BEETLE, BIG PROBLEMS
Although the trees are already dead, they initially appear green on the outside, on the inside they begin to develop a unique blue stain. At this point, the trees can no longer hold their stored CO2, releasing their reserves into the atmosphere. After the first year, all nutrients are depleted and the pine needles turn red, and by the second year, the trees become bare, leaving behind a grey forest. If the trees are not removed within eight years of infestation, they eventually rot and emit methane gas which is exponentially more harmful than CO2. They may be the size of your fingernail, but these bugs are dangerous, compromising the BC forest landscape and the air we breathe.