Driving up the interior of British Columbia is like watching the death march of a single tree hit by the mountain pine beetle. The dense forest is lush and green in the south. Trees slowly turn shades of orange and red farther north, on the fringes of the beetles' current spread. It starts with a tree here. Another there. Then an entire stand. Before long, entire hillsides are afire. If you didn't know what the ruby-tinged countryside signified, you might consider the vast and startling sight appealing, or even beautiful. But continue on, and there's no mistaking the calamity. The red-needled trees eventually are replaced by their inevitable successors, and thorny, gray expanses conquer the landscape.