Mountain pine beetle populations have exploded across western North America, as fewer colder nights freeze the insects and keep their numbers in check. The beetles feed and lay eggs in pine trees; eventually, a large enough infestation can kill the tree. The current infestation in British Columbia’s forests, which began in the 1990s, is ten times larger than any other on record. In this 2006 false-color image, trees damaged and destroyed by beetles, shown in red, yellow and brown, cover a wide swath in the Cariboo region of British Columbia. Healthy, growing forests take up carbon dioxide (a powerful greenhouse gas) and produce oxygen. Dead forests release carbon dioxide when trees decay, and could accelerate warming. The Canadian Forest Service predicts that beetle-damaged Canadian forest tracts will release 220 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2020.Click on the link, scroll to the bottom, and click on animals/plants in the image gallery to see the satellite photo. Dead trees cover a good portion of the BC Interior, not just the Cariboo. Ask any forestry worker if climate change is a problem.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
NASA Photo Of Pine Beetle Kill