Where is "Dead Tree Mountain" ? It is everywhere in the mountains of Colorado. The tiny Mountain Pine Beetle, one of several species of native pine beetles, is the agent for this ecological disaster. Though outbreaks have occurred in the past, none compare to the present conditions. By next year it is likely that every pine and spruce tree in this picture will be dead or infected.
Warmer than average winter and summer temperatures for several years, with lower than average rainfall are thought to be the explanation for the rapid expansion of the beetle population (i.e. climate change). The normal balance would be with cold enough winter temperatures to kill enough beetles, naturally controlling their population.
The gray areas highlighted in the picture, and the unusual coloration of the mountain in the foreground are due to dead and infected trees.
Seen from Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park.
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