The front page of the Bozeman, Montana Chronicle has a front page article that the past two winters in this area have wiped out (killed) pine beetle populations. So it is thought but there is no impirical evidence that this is the case…so my opinion is that pine bark beetle incursions have been slowed down by these past two winters and by prediction, the winter in front of us. I do not mind being wrong on this, but your average persons will read that article and think pine bark beetles are a scourge of our past…so this is a dangerous “junk science” article and people might come to the wrong conclusion about pines, bear, somebirds, some small mammals and pine beetles as a result of this bad article and the “junk science” behind the article.
What is alarming to me at present is that pine bark beetles, and to a lesser extent blister rust (an exotic fungus that was already killing the whitebark pine) in a short period of time, have wiped out 90% of the whitebark pine stands in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. Bears, some birds and some small mamals will be heavily impacted by the impinging loss of the major whitebark pine nut resource in the Yellowstone Ecosystem; a major food.
Experts blame this whitebark pine loss on climate change. I think bears will react negativlly to this loss over time in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. Clark’s Nutcracker will be severly impacted also by the loss of the whitebark pine.