Tree-Killing Beetles, Lured by Milder Winters

In Environment, States On

Foresters there have brought the pine beetle under control by, among other strategies, thinning even healthy woods, leaving the remaining trees stronger and more ready to withstand a beetle onslaught.

And suppressing any beetle outbreaks before they reach epidemic levels is crucial, scientists say. In the South, forest managers swiftly cut down trees that have been infested, selling the timber to salvage loggers and paper mills — a strategy that pays for itself. But there is not much of an equivalent industry in the Northeast, making felling the trees more expensive.

In New York, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation has already felled more than 15,000 trees in Long Island to ward off the beetles, a department spokeswoman said in a statement.

“This beetle was given the name southern because it was not found in the north,” the spokeswoman said. “But as our climate continues to warm, these beetles will find more and more of New York’s pine forests suitable for feeding and breeding.”

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