The Last Stand


Spruce, aspen losses could follow pine devastation

A tremendous loss of spruce and aspen trees could make up the next chapter in the drastic transformation of Colorado's forests after the mountain pine beetle eats itself out of house and home.

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As dying pines are mourned, a new forest is emerging

When Charlie Cammer built his wife, Barb, a bookcase out of blue-stain wood eight years ago, he couldn't have been prepared for her response.

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Dying forests increase wildfire danger across the West

Close your eyes, and a 3,000-acre wildfire on the banks of the New Fork River in Wyoming's Bridger Wilderness crackles deceptively, like a soothing campfire. But any sense of security is shattered quickly by the blaze's more violent noises.

Dead trees cause many dangers

At Rockin's River Resort north of Prince George, British Columbia, Horst Schulz is experiencing a consequence not often associated with the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

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Boon or bust?

Some lament, others capitalize on beetle epidemic

In the backwoods of the Roosevelt National Forest in northern Larimer County, woods boss Jerry Heggie has barely introduced himself before he starts hauling the U.S. Forest Service over the coals.

Wood-fired boilers gaining steam

Electricity presents bigger hurdles than heat

Oak Creek and Milner are on the cutting edge of a new energy frontier.

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How the West was lost

Climate change, forest management fuel beetles' shocking spread across Rockies

In a laboratory at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, a moving plate jostles eight test tubes inside a mirrored glass box. Bacteria in the test tubes are being used to grow the mountain pine beetle genes responsible for producing the insect's chemical defenses against lower temperatures.

Epidemic elicits little wildlife fright

Randy Hampton doesn't mean to downplay the seriousness of Colorado's mountain pine beetle epidemic - especially considering the serious fire and erosion concerns it presents - but he says "it hasn't risen to the crisis level for wildlife."

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Dealing with denial

Communities cope with reality of unprecedented beetle epidemic

There's nothing quite as serene as lying under a stand of lodgepole pine trees. Their fallen needles pad the ground, choking the forest floor and smothering other growth between the slender trunks.

Turning of the evergreens

If anyone has a newfound appreciation for the dangers posed by dead, standing trees, it's Sheila Wright, development director for Rocky Mountain Youth Corps.