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Nov 7, 2000

Pine Ridge threatened by beetle

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It has been suspected for some time, but officials in the Ministry of Natural Resources have now confirmed that our spectacular Mountain Pine Ridge may one day soon be reduced to just a Mountain Ridge. The problem is the southern bark beetle, a pest which has invaded the area and infested as much as fifty percent of the pine trees. These trees will likely die and to prevent further devastation, forest department workers will clear tree breaks wide enough so that beetles cannot fly across to infect healthy trees. As for the effect on timber operations, a government release states that if infected trees are harvested in time the lumber is not affected. What may be far more important, however, is how the situation will impact the growing tourism in the area as well as potential erosion of soil, a result which would be felt radically far downstream. It is believed that the beetles began their attack several months ago. Similar infestations have occurred in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

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