Plagues Devastating Forests Across the U.S. West – ‘We’re talking millions of trees killed, whole mountain sides dying’

called a forest ecologist at the University of Hawaii named Friday began receiving calls from owners interested in Puna, which is at the eastern end of the big island of Hawaii in 2010. His seemingly ubiquitous Ohi’a trees were dying at an astonishing rate. The leaves turn yellow, then brown, more than a few weeks -. A surprising change for a evergreen

“It was like popcorn – pop, pop, pop, pop, one tree after another,” he said Friday. “At first it surprised people since resigned.

” It’s heartbreaking. This is the greatest threat to our native forests than any of us have seen. If this spreads throughout the island, which could collapse the entire native ecosystem. “

Nearly six years later and nearly 50,000 acres of native forest on the Big Island you are infected with the disease of rapid death Ohi’a Rumors abound about its origin. Had to leave smoking volcanoes ? Hawaii A new and strange insect scientists are still not sure where it came from or how to treat

forest officials and scientists are increasingly alarmed, and say the essential role of trees -. water supply, locking up carbon and protecting entire ecosystems – is being undermined in large scale

California and mountain states have particularly suffered heavy mortalities in recent years, with trees 66m killed in the Sierra Nevada only since 2010, according to the Forest Service

in northern California, a pathogen invasive called sudden oak death is infecting hundreds of different plants, ferns redwoods and oaks and laurels backyard. The disease is distantly related to the cause of the Irish potato famine of the 19th century, and seems to have come with two “Typhoid Marys”, rhododendrons and laurels, said Dr. David Rizzo of the University of California, Davis.

“We are talking about millions of dead trees, entire hillsides dying,” Rizzo said.

Five years of drought in the West have not only starved trees water but weakened their defenses and created the conditions for “insect eruptions” in the US, Diana Six, said one entomologist at the University of Montana. bark beetles and mountain pine beetles, usually held in check by wet winters now have more time to reproduce and roaming. The latter have already expanded its range of British Columbia through the Rocky Mountains, to the Yukon border and eastward into jack pine forests that have never seen the error.

The outbreak is “something like 10 times larger than normal, I would like to discuss much more than that,” Six said. “Basically, a native insect is acting outside the norm due to climate change, and become an exotic in forests that have never been before. We have not seen very good results of alien species to native forests move “.

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