Beetle-Killed and Fire-Scarred
Before the 1988 fire, parts of this forest were
already dying. Pine bark beetles had invaded the
lodgepoles, turning needles brown and killing the
crown. Fueled by so many old, fallen trees, the
fire burned hotter here.
The sight of a scorched or infested forest may be
disturbing, but these natural events are essential
to the long-term health of the ecosystem. Both fire
and beetle-kill weed out older, disease-ridden trees
and promote new growth. By opening the forest
canopy, re-mineralizing the soil, and releasing
seeds from the fire-adapted cones, fire quickens
the rebirth cycle.
Five years after, you can expect to see an average
of 500 lodgepole seedlings in each burned acre -
the return of a young, disease-resistant forest.
Don't miss the rest of our virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park in 4870 images.