Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Mountain pine beetle infestations cause the destruction of huge numbers of trees. To curb the massive losses due to these infestations, governments in the United States and Canada have supplied large amounts of money toward eradication efforts. Without these efforts or any future change, the death of Pinus trees leads to increased carbon emissions. In addition, the destruction of Pinus forests leads to an increase in wildfire fuel, which could be potentially harmful to humans. Especially significant are the forest fires which occurred in Yellowstone National Park in 1988 and were the result of mountain pine beetle damage to Pinus trees. Deforestation due to mountain pine beetles can also negatively affect local timber industry.
- Kurz, W., C. Dymond, G. Stinson, G. Rampley, E. Neilson, A. Carroll, T. Ebata, L. Safranyik. 2008. Mountain pine beetle and forest carbon feedback to climate change. Nature, 452: 987-990.
- Lynch, H., R. Renkin, R. Crabtree, P. Moorcroft. 2006. The influence of previous mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) activity on the 1988 Yellowstone fires. Ecosystems, 9/8: 1318-1327.
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