Rain falling on a beetle-killed pine tree may behave very differently than the same drops falling on a burned tree. And that could have big impacts on forest health, drinking water and logging practices.
“As we’re watching this beetle epidemic unfold, we’re wondering what this is going to do to the timing of our water supply and its quality,” said University of Alberta professor Uldis Silins, a hydrologist investigating the beetle’s effects on the Canadian Rockies. “Most of our scientific study has relied on modeling efforts to predict changes. We know a lot more about other disturbances like logging, and some about wildfire. But the beetle is a unique animal.”