Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Spruce Beetle May Not Be at Fault for Wildfire Severity

Spruce Beetle damage in the Rio Grande National Forest. Photo: Steve Lewis/The Durango Herald
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder,found that infestations may not be to blame for increased severity of wildfires. “Our study is unique because we were actually out in the forest peeling bark off of the burned trees, looking for evidence of the beetle,” said Robert Andrus, a graduate researcher at CU-Boulder. “We were interested in the ecological effects of the interaction between these two disturbances and determining whether more trees were killed by fire in areas of higher beetle infestation.”

Researchers found that higher levels of infestation did not lead to more severe fires. Factors such as topography and weather conditions play a larger role in determining the severity of Colorado’s subalpine wildfires, according to the study.  Read more here

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