Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday scenes and scenery: Harney Peak, SD

At The New Republic, Rebecca Leber reports on "The Hidden, Horrifying Impacts of Climate Change." That headline is annoying link-bait, but the article catalogs some real perils.

Like this one:

Insects wipe out forests
The mountain pine beetle, which is as big as a grain of rice, and spruce beetle have damaged more than 42 million acres since 1996. Though invasive insects would still pose a threat without climate change, they especially thrive in mild winter conditions, moving into higher altitudes and exploding in population when otherwise they would die during winter. Drought hasn’t hurt the invasive insects, either, leaving dry trees with weaker defenses. It’s not just the pine beetle: The hemlock woolly adelgid threatens 19 million acres of eastern hemlock forests.

Here's some of the pine beetles' work on the slopes of Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota.


The 7200 foot mountain is billed as the highest peak between the Pyrenees and the Rockies.


It offers breathtaking terrain.


Custer State Park rangers are fighting the beetles, but it is hard to see how they can stop the invasion.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

fire stopped a lot of it in Oregon. For years we'd see that kind of damage and then came the fire. Now it's blackened trees. We also have something that destroyed a lot of fir in my part of Oregon. The natives did better with it than the ones someone planted. It's a problem where Christmas trees are such a crop here but it caused needle drop. I am not sure if they figured that one out but we lost several of our trees to it. But those that had self planted from the nearby forest, they mostly are doing fine.

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