Beetles, Other Insects, Taking Toll On Western Slope Pinyon Trees

An ecologist with the Colorado State University Extension Office says people on the Western Slope should get ready for a significant change in the landscapes around Grand Junction.

Bob Hammon has been following population trends of insects attacking pinyon trees in the Little Park area. He says a new pest recently appeared is a significant threat to one of the keystone species of the Four–corners area.

The extended drought in Western Colorado has left trees in a weakened state unable to fend off the trio of insects. Pinyon deaths have approached 90% in some parts of the state. The dead trees add to fire danger.

Hammon says the pinyon trees will not go extinct because of the insect predation, but it's unlikely the trees will recover in our lifetime.

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