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Posted Tue Sep 22 2009: from Wyoming Tribune Eagle, from Desdemona Despair:
Beetle attack to change our [forests and] world
The tree looks alive, but it probably won't be for long. The brown cadavers of lodgepoles past stand among smaller, greener pines, testifying to the unavoidable truth: Change -- big change -- is coming. "The general feeling is this will end when the food supply runs out," Frost says. Looking out on the variegated landscape of greens, reds and browns, two things become clear. One: This is one of the biggest ecological changes we have ever seen. It's daunting and scary and -- for the experts -- exciting all at the same time. A plague of beetles, including one that just now is taking its turn, is cutting a swath through the national forests in north-central Colorado and into Wyoming. At the low end, it's possible that just 10 percent of large lodgepole pines will be left. It's also possible that they all will be gone. But other and smaller trees suddenly are being chewed up as well. Where that leads remains to be seen. The implications of all this are impossible to pin down, but they could affect each and every one of us. They possibly include an increase in global warming, large-scale wildfires and big changes in water supply. And then there is this fact: These forests will never look the same again. Two: This change is inevitable. Try as we might, there's no stopping it.
[Read more stories about: forests, invasive species, massive die-off]

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What a lot of carbon-offsets waiting to be planted!

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