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Dec 22, 2000

Pine Beetle will destroy forest reserve

More experts continue to confirm the devastating news that the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve will soon be little more than a desolate wasteland. At a meeting in Belmopan to update officials on the situation, Chief Forest Officer Oswaldo Sabido reported that the Southern Pine Beetle currently infests sixty percent of the reserve’s one hundred and ten thousand acres. While there are plans to clear cut a system of two hundred and fifty foot wide breaks to stop the beetle’s progress, there is little optimism that government will be able to organise sufficient resources in time to save more than a few pockets of healthy trees. Experts from Germany brought in by the Janus Foundation, which is headquartered just north of the Pine Ridge area, have promised to seek help in providing heavy equipment for the effort, but it will most likely be used to help prevent massive fires, which could break out with so much dry dead timber in the area. In the meantime, top priority is being given to harvesting as much marketable timber as possible before the beetle infestation is complete. Government officials insist that the disaster was a natural one, which was caused by a confluence of unusual climatic conditions. It is believed, however, that budgetary cutbacks resulting in less aggressive management techniques, also contributed to the severity of the devastation.

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