• American beetles 'may be altering air quality'

Environmental Laboratory

American beetles 'may be altering air quality'

Oct 02 2008

Beetles thriving on trees in America may be responsible for changing the air quality and weather patterns, scientists have said.

The pine bark beetle, which feeds on and ultimately kills trees, are going to be the subject of a new four-year-long study by scientists from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

Environmental factors, such as rainfall, temperature and smog are going to be examined as part of the research.

"Forests help control the atmosphere and there's a big difference between the impacts of a living forest and a dead forest", said Alex Guenther, who is working on the project.

He added that an example of this is dead forests seeing a different pattern of rainfall.

The US forest Service has claimed that Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota are seeing more bark beetle destruction then ever before and have proposed a spraying plan to protect the lodgepole pines.

Barkbettles.org offers tips on how to minimise the effects of the pine beetle, including clearing storm-damaged trees, encouraging growth and delaying harvests until their presence declines.

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