Colorado Pine Beetle

Abiotic Factors

· On the Colorado Plateau mixed-conifer forests
· Elevations from about 8000 feet to 10,000 feet
· Annual precipitation is from 25 to 30 inches annually.
· Rich, moist soil
· Diverse understory of forbs, grasses, and shrubs.
· Conditions vary widely, from dry, open-canopy forests with grassy undergrowth on open slopes and ridges to moist, closed-canopied stands.
· Mountain temperature drops by about 10° C for every 1000 meters in altitude gained (a suspiciously round number!). This means that if you start at sea level at 30° C and go up 1,000 meters the temperature will be 20° C; at the top of a 3,000 meter mountain the temperature will be 0° C.

Biotic Factors
Plants

· Coniferous
· Conifer
· Pines
· Firs
· Wildflowers
· Mosses
· Succulents
· Lichens
· Berries
· Grass

Animals

· Hoary marmot,
· Steller’s Jays
· Chickaree
· Mountain Lion
· Grizzly Bear
· Squirrel
· Maggots
· Deer


Alpine_Forest_Food_Web_2A.JPG
Threats
The main threat for the pine forests are the mountain pine beetles. They chew on the trees and kill them. This is killing the whole forest. Another threat, not as traumatic, is humans tearing down the forests to build houses. Also if there were no trees, there would be no place for the chickaree’s to live and they would die out. Then if the chickaree’s died, other animals would die because of lack of food. So, because of one threat to the trees, the whole area could be threatened. 1800s when grazing and fire supressions polices vastly reduced widespread fires regimes included frequent surface fires to infrequent, patchy crown fires with return intervals of about 10 years. As these forests become reduced or fragmented, local endemic plants may become threatened or endangered. Herbaceous under stories have been reduced by denser canopies and needle litter, and nutrient cycles have been disrupted. Won’t be many lodge poles left in the mountain west and that might be the only thing that will slow the beetles down.
Importance
Some experts have predicted that if the issue is not eradicated, all of Colorado’s mature lodge pole pine forests will be killed within three to five years. As for now the regeneration of decimated forests has begun as the US Forest Service hires loggers to remove the dead trees. Researchers from the Canadian Forest Service have studied the relationship between the carbon cycle and forest fires, logging and tree deaths. They concluded that by 2020 the pine beetle outbreak will released 270 megaton’s of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from Canadian forests. There is yet to be an accepted study of the carbon cycle effect over a future period of time for North American forests. The huge number of beetle-killed trees poses a substantial risk of devastating forest fires. Forest thinning to mitigate fire danger is expensive and resource-intensive.

Conversation plan
If we do not stop the pine beetle kill it will destroy our alpine forest and take almost half of our oxygen, and with the cutting down of our other jungles and forests we will be starved of oxygen. So that’s why we need to stop the alpine forest beetle kill.