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Mountain pine beetle in Colorado: A story of changing forests

Posted date: December 06, 2018
Publication Year: 
Authors: Negron, Jose; Cain, Bob
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Journal of Forestry. doi: 10.1093/jofore/fvy032.


The mountain pine beetle (MPB) (Dendroctonus ponderosae) is one of the most prevalent disturbance agents in western conifer forests. It utilizes various species of pines (Pinus spp.) as host trees. Eruptive populations can cause extensive tree mortality. Since the late 1990s, extensive outbreaks have occurred from the southern Rockies to British Columbia. In Colorado, lodgepole pine (P. contorta) forests have been the most affected. Since 1996, about 3.4 million acres of lodgepole and ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa) forests have exhibited MPB-caused tree mortality. A large portion of the larger diameter trees have been killed with significant reductions in basal areas and tree densities. Tree mortality has impacted many forest ecosystem services including fiber production, hydrology, nutrient cycling, wildlife habitat, property values, and recreation. In this article, we examine and summarize some of what we have learned about MPB impacts from observations and research over the past two decades in Colorado.


Negron, Jose F.; Cain, Bob. 2018. Mountain pine beetle in Colorado: A story of changing forests. Journal of Forestry. doi: 10.1093/jofore/fvy032.