Academic Venture Fund - 2014

After the Conifers Die

Pine forest infested with bark beetles

Climate change is devastating pine and spruce forests across North America, bringing bark beetle infestations that can kill up to 90 percent of larger trees. What happens when the conifers die? Wildfires often follow, along with pollution and habitat changes that allow parasites to spread, and the whole ecosystem suffers the consequences: plants, birds and mammals, and human beings. Based in Alaska's severely impacted forests, this field study will assess the aftereffects of beetle outbreaks on biodiversity, the environment, and human health and livelihoods—some of the looming costs of climate change.

Investigators: Jeremy Searle, Paul Curtis, John Fitzpatrick, Kyle Wickings, Nicolas Ziebarth