It is well documented in the scientific and popular literature that large-scale bark beetle outbreaks are occurring across many coniferous forests in the western United States. The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) is one of the major species exhibiting extensive, eruptive populations resulting in high levels of tree mortality. The literature on mountain pine beetles is extensive, and navigating through it can be a daunting task for scientists and managers alike. A special section of Forest Science published in June, 2014 contains 10 papers addressing different aspects of the biology, ecology, and management of mountain pine beetles. A number of relevant topics are reviewed and available literature synthesized for use by land managers, forest health specialists, scientists, and students from a variety of disciplines. Novel research results are also presented in select papers.