Forest diseases and pest infections
by TYuen5678 on September 21, 2017 - 3:37pm
Balance is what keeps the earth together. As David Suzuki said, our survival is based on an interaction, an equilibrium, between air, water, land and the living. However, for the past decades, climate change started to disturb this natural balance and causing impacts on every aspect of one’s life. For instance, forests have been big victims of those impacts. In fact, for many years, Canadian forests have been living in harmony with the forest pathogens, each one having a positive impact on the other. Though, climate change has broken this thin balance and brought along a lot of negative impacts on the forests.
First of all, one shall understand the source of the problem before being able to analyze properly the negative impacts it has and to easily come up with a good and durable solution. So, it all starts with the warming of the weather due to climate change, which leads to forests being less and less moisturized. Consequently, this drought doesn’t simply result in more wildfires, but it also results in a stress for the trees, bringing down their “immune system” against pathogens and thus, leaving them more vulnerable, causing forest diseases. Also, changing weather means a change in the migration patterns of insects, and so, more and more, we can find other species of insects which we have never seen before in forests that were usually taken by other species. Furthermore, insects are carriers of pathogens and so, it creates some sort of vicious cycle which makes the trees sicker and sicker which eventually ends up with the death of the forest.
Second of all, pest infestation is a serious problem since it has a huge impact on the woodland. Since the insects are moving up to the north, they start eating the forest. Endangered species are included, and they are disappearing at an alarming rate. Consequences of ignoring this problem will result in a “radial and height growth loss, volume loss, dieback and deformity” as stated by Natural Resources Canada. For instance, in British Columbia, there was a period where mountain pine beetle attacked the Northern Boreal Forest, and in less than ten years, these beetles have succeeded in eating 18 million hectares of lodgepole pine, which is the area of both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick combined! Because of this, it will leave a great deal of damage not only in Canadian forests but the whole world. From this, existing tree species will be forced to displace and the diseases spread by infectious pests will continue to kill without discrimination all of the forests, resulting in a vicious cycle of the destruction of our forests. However, even if those insects do cause a major threat to our forests, there are actually some benefits from their arrival. Taking back our example from before, even if mountain pine beetles eat the oldest and the largest trees, this will leave more space for the younger trees to grow faster. In summary, there is a negative effect on the forests of our world because of climate change and it will worsen if we don’t act now.
To conclude, climate change is affecting and changing our forests, and if we don’t act now, we might reach a point of no-return. Luckily, some group in Canada created the National Forest Pest Strategy, in which their goals are to analyze and restrict the number of pests. As you can see, people can find solutions if they want to, and this applies for all of us. Together, we can make the impossible possible!
James Liu, Renata Mirza, Manuel Navidad, and Thornton Yuen