Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America's Great Forests

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D&M Publishers Incorporated, 2011 - Nature - 240 pages
17 Reviews
Beginning in the late 1980s, a series of improbable bark beetle outbreaks unsettled iconic forests and communities across western North America. An insect the size of a rice kernel eventually killed more than 30 billion pine and spruce trees from Alaska to New Mexico. Often appearing in masses larger than schools of killer whales, the beetles engineered one of the world's greatest forest die-offs since the deforestation of Europe by peasants between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries.
The beetle didn't act alone. Misguided science, out-of-control logging, bad public policy, and a hundred years of fire suppression created a volatile geography that released the world's oldest forest manager from all natural constraints. Like most human empires, the beetles exploded wildly and then crashed, leaving in their wake grieving landowners, humbled scientists, hungry animals, and altered watersheds. Although climate change triggered this complex event, human arrogance assuredly set the table. With little warning, an ancient insect pointedly exposed the frailty of seemingly stable manmade landscapes.
Drawing on first-hand accounts from entomologists, botanists, foresters, and rural residents, award-winning journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, investigates this unprecedented beetle plague, its startling implications, and the lessons it holds.

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Review: Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America's Great Forests

User Review  - Gin Getz - Goodreads

I was recommended this book as "the bible on beetle kill" and I was not disappointed. Mr. Nikiforuk has done his research, presents the story, and tells it well, in a manner not strictly scientific ... Read full review

Review: Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America's Great Forests

User Review  - Dan - Goodreads

Overall, I quite liked this book. Entertaining to read, and of course I feel like I finally have a proper understanding of the beetle phenomena. I totally agree with Nikiforuk's analysis of the forest ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist who has written about education, economics, and the environment for the last two decades. His books include Pandemonium, Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig's War Against Oil, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction, and The Fourth Horseman: A Short History of Plagues, Scourges and Emerging Viruses. His bestselling book Tar Sands won the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award.

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