Friday, November 14, 2008

Colorado governor Ritter announces plan to battle bark beetle damage

Aspen Times (Colorado): Gov. Bill Ritter is proposing to spend $5.5 million next year to train firefighters and provide incentives to clean up forests ravaged by bark beetles, warning that one of the state's biggest treasures is at risk. Ritter said Wednesday forests are a major part of Colorado's tourism economy and supply materials for lumber, construction and renewable energy.

"They are at risk from drought, climate change, wildfire and development, and these risks threaten not just our forests, but also Colorado's communities, economies, air quality, water supplies and wildlife," Ritter said. The beetle infestation has already killed more than 1.5 million acres of pine trees.

Ritter announced a legislative package that would provide money for communities to plan responses to wildfires, support forest-thinning projects, create wildlife habit and protect water resources. It also would provide a revolving fund to support business and create jobs by finding new ways to market timber and other products from wood that otherwise could be a fire hazard…..

Bark beetle burrows, shot by Vik Nanda, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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