Forest Health

dead spruce

Many folks visiting the Rio Grande National Forest are noticing a big change in the high elevation forests as literally millions of trees are succumbing to the spruce bark beetle. A total of 617,000 acres of spruce-fir forest have been infested by spruce beetle since 1996 and the beetles are continuing to spread.

The native spruce beetle primarily attacks mature Engelmann spruce, although it sometimes infests blue spruce too. The tiny beetle is killing trees down to 5 inches in diameter.  Luckily, smaller spruce and all sizes of subalpine fir will continue to survive and they will provide the base for creating the next forest.  

Spruce Beetle Flyer (.pdf)

2017 Forest Health fact sheet (.pdf)

Map of Spruce Beetle Infestation at Rio Grande National Forest, 2005 to 2018

spruce trees