This year's survey was released just yesterday. The study showed that the spread of the mountain pine beetle epidemic has slowed dramatically. The survey revealed that 97,000 acres had pine beetle activity in 2013. The first signs of outbreak were in 1996; to date, 3.4 million acres have been infested. The new report highlights the lowest acreage of active infestation observed in 15 years.
However, the spruce beetle outbreak continues to expand by 216,000 new acres of forestland in 2013. The first signs of spruce beetle in Colorado was also in 1996; more than 1.1 million acres have been affected to date.
Dan Jirón, Regional Forester for the Rocky Mountain Region of the US Forest Service shared in a statement: “Through our collaborative efforts we are improving the health of our public lands. Our continuing work on the land, together with other agencies, partners and the wood products industry will allow for the treatment of more acres in need of restoration at an increased pace.”
Mike Lester, State Forester and Director of the CSFS stated, “Bark beetles and other forest health concerns don’t recognize property boundaries, so it’s critical for land managers and private landowners to work together to address forest management across federal, state and private lands."
For more information about the Annual Aerial Forest Health Survey in Colorado, visit the US Forest Service Press Release.
For information directed at private landowners to help manage for healthier forests, visit the Colorado State Forest Service website.