Death of a Forest

Michael Pellegatti
(USA, 2011, 15 min)

With global warming evident in many places around the world, the forest of North America are undergoing huge changes. The pine beetle and pine trees have co-evolved together and until the past 2-3 decades, the numbers of beetles have been kept in check by very cold winters that would kill the beetles, thus limiting their lifespan and ability to reproduce. However, with warmer temperatures during the winters, the beetles are surviving in astounding numbers and are killing the forests of the western US and Canada. To date millions of acres of forests and billions of trees are dead and there is no end in sight. Some estimates predict that by 2013, 80% of the North American forests could be gone. In addition, we are losing forests that otherwise provide a carbon sink for our production of greenhouse gases, and as the trees die, they emit more Carbon Dioxide back into the atmosphere. Nothing, except very cold winter weather, will stop the beetles.

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