North American forests affected by the Mountain Pine Beetle

Mexico, United States and Canada, along with the boreal zone also suffer the ravages of these plagues in their forests, a situation that is directly related to climate change, say researchers and specialists.

It is distributed in all the forests of North America, located between 800 and 1,900 mamsl. It belongs to the family of the Dendroctonus ponderosae, is a natural species of cortex beetle forests of western North America, from Mexico to central British Columbia.

It has a hard black exoskeleton and measures about 5 millimeters, about the size of a grain of rice.

Beetles attack trees by piercing the cortex which they feed and in which they lay eggs. The larvae or maggots are very aggressive in their growth process.

Trees respond to attacks by increasing its production of resin to discourage or kill the beetles. Older trees often succumb first.

According to experts, after the last particularly hot summer, the population of mountain pine beetle increased dramatically, deforesting large areas.

The consequences are not only the loss of trees and its immense value, the water quality is affected, the fires spread faster and the entire ecosystem is altered with devastating consequences for wildlife.

The impact that causes in the wood production is relevant because often forces to make sanitation cuts and utilization of dead wood.

The western region of Canada, British Columbia, approximately 150,000 km2 (the area of Andalucia and Extremadura) the 50% of adults pines have fallen under the maw of this tiny, powerful enemy, it is estimated that by 2013, the 80% of the pines in this region will die.

Throughout the states of Colorado and Wyoming in North America. If nothing stop them only 10% of the pines will survive. Even the smaller trees could die chewed by these insects.

In Mexico there are 11 species of mountain pine beetles of the genre Dendroctonus, today they are recognized as the most damaging forest pest in the country.

The environmental consequences of this plague may include an increase of global warming, most voracious fires and changes in water supply in the region.

If the beetle gets across the continent, either quickly or in decades, it will find more and more quantities of pine trees , because the species is endemic in various regions of the Atlantic west coast. The climate is warmer towards the south, the more favorable the expansion and could even reach Central America.

Gustavo Carrasquel | ANCA24

About ANCA24canada

Environmental, Ecologists and Conservationist news from the Americas
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