What researchers are calling a “second wave” of pine beetle infestations are heading further north into Canada. The most surprising part of this is that the beetles are attacking trees that they had not previously before. Trees such as the Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) and the Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) in the past have only been affected intermittently during brief warmer periods but the beetles would be killed when normal cold conditions returned.
With warmer conditions due to climate change, the beetle have not been staved off by the cold and are spreading into areas where they haven’t been before in larger waves that have never been seen before historically. Other implications from the spread of the pine bark beetle is the loss of food source such as the seeds of the Whitebark Pine for grizzly bears and the increase of dead trees adding to fuels that could lead to large catastrophic forest fires.
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