USFS proposes thinning trees to halt mountain pine beetle spread
Written byLAURA HANCOCK, Casper Star-Tribune/GW
Hoping to stem the spread of a mountain pine beetle infestation, Forest Service officials are proposing a plan to thin portions of the Black Hills National Forest.
"From where the beetles are today, they are more heavily concentrated in South Dakota, but the concentration is building near the state line," Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Craig Bobzien said. "Part of our strategy is thinning the forest on the leading edge. And that is in Wyoming."
The beetles are native to the area. But in the past 15 years, there has been an outbreak. The insect's larvae have been killing more of the 1.2-million-acre national forest's trees than usual. Some researchers attribute the infestations to global warming.
The agency's draft environmental impact statement poses three options to deal with the infestation. As part of the preferred plan, officials would raze up to 124,000 acres of the forest.