Empire of the Beetle

Empire of the Beetle

How Human Folly and A Tiny Bug Are Killing North America's Great Forests

Book - 2011
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Beginning in the late 1980s, a series of improbable bark beetle outbreaks unsettled iconic forests and communities across western North America. An insect the size of a rice kernel eventually killed more than 30 billion pine and spruce trees from Alaska to New Mexico. Often appearing in masses larger than schools of killer whales, the beetles engineered one of the world's greatest forest die-offs since the deforestation of Europe by peasants between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries.

The beetle didn't act alone. Misguided science, out-of-control logging, bad public policy, and a hundred years of fire suppression created a volatile geography that released the world's oldest forest manager from all natural constraints. Like most human empires, the beetles exploded wildly and then crashed, leaving in their wake grieving landowners, humbled scientists, hungry animals, and altered watersheds. Although climate change triggered this complex event, human arrogance assuredly set the table. With little warning, an ancient insect pointedly exposed the frailty of seemingly stable manmade landscapes. And despite the billions of public dollars spent on control efforts, the beetles burn away like a fire that can't be put out.

Drawing on first-hand accounts from entomologists, botanists, foresters, and rural residents, award-winning journalist Andrew Nikiforuk investigates this unprecedented beetle plague, its startling implications, and the lessons it holds.
Publisher: Vancouver : Greystone Books, c2011.
ISBN: 9781553655107
Characteristics: 230 p. :,ill., map ;,22 cm.
Additional Contributors: David Suzuki Foundation


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Mar 22, 2014

also Elm disease, (in Edm. anyway)!
time to re-look at/increase funding
for present entomologists....Federal?
area? AND for training of FUTURE
students (prov. area) of insects, chemistry, biology,environment, hydrologists, forestry, horticulture, genetics, etc. funding NOW will be ONLY way to benefit/assure our future generations this resource will be there.

Aug 31, 2012

It is very disconcerting how these beetles can destroy hectares of forest.They can be heard munching on the trees.
This book opens our eyes to the forces of nature.

Feb 24, 2012

Empire of the Beetle --- by Andrew Nikiforuk Bugs, Bugs, Bugs. Or perhaps it should more precisely be Beetles and Beetles and how they interact with their forest environments and how this relationship can be botched by “forest management”. Western forest of lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, as well as eastern Balsam and numerous other species are at risk, especially in those areas that have been “managed” through fire suppression and pesticide use. The attackers are sly. They exploit the sudden advantage bequeathed upon them by climatic change; they have ramped up their fertility to produce larger and larger swarms of invaders. The result is predictable. This provides a wealth of information about the culprits and how they accomplish their mission. It is explicit in its description of the plant weaknesses that dooms the trees. It does all of this in the context of the environment within which these plants grow. This may not be everybody’s read but it will certainly appeal to environmentalists in general and, more specifically, to those with an interest in North America’s forest.

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