Insects & Climate Change

SPB

Southern Pine Beetle Killed Pine Trees in Honduras
Photo: Orlando Sierra

The United Nations issued a climate report from Paris that lists Haiti, Myanmar and Honduras as nations most affected by climate change. The El Nino warming in the Pacific Ocean has led to drought conditions in Honduras that is adversely affecting about 4 million acres of pine forest. Pine trees under drought stress are more susceptible to attack by bark beetles because the trees cannot create enough pitch to prevent beetle colonization. The drought conditions have been accompanied by a 6-fold increase in Sourthern Pine Beetle populations. As a result, Southern Pine Beetles have already destroyed about 1 million acres of pine forest in Honduras. The current infestation is on track to kill half the pine trees in an ongoing ecotastrophe.

Lack of political will and weak leadership have failed to address the known problem of carbon dioxide emissions that are driving climate change. An over 20 year delay in addressing the issue has allow the climate change to worsen and made adequate solutions ever more difficult to achieve. For Honduras, climate change now means enlisting the army to cut down hundreds of thousands of dead trees and formulating a different management strategy better adapted to the changes in the climate.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, News, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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