Pine forests in Belize are struggling to recover from a devastating plague of beetles. Scientists blame it on climate change.
Tiny pine beetles shattered up to 70,000 acres, that make up to 80 percent, of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest near Belize’s border with Guatemala. According to scientists, climate change is responsible for such a state of the forest. Because according to them, droughts caused by global warming weakened the trees, owing to this, trees could not sustain higher temperatures and water shortage for years, leaving them susceptible to beetle attacks. Moreover, rising temperatures speed up the reproduction of the insects. The beetle responsible for the devastation belongs mainly to Dendroctonus family.
Healthy pines can tolerate the beetle attacks by secreting a substance that plugs the boreholes and drowns the beetles, but unusual drought for years had weakened the trees in Belize. The blight attack was first observed in 1999 and surged up by 2003.
However, replanting of trees was to take place, but even that received by a ferocious forest fire that wiped out close to 20,000 acres of this natural biosphere reserve. The reserve boasts of Caribbean pines and home to small foxes, deer and birds.
Elsewhere also, such a beetle attack has come into news. Colorado is in the midst of a pine beetle infestation that has damaged nearly half of the state’s lodge pole pines.
The Belize forest destruction is a warning of what can happen to other forests around the world.
Rising global temperatures, due to overuse of fossil fuels, are also held responsible for an array of changing climate patterns including increased floods and drought and more frequent hurricanes.