This data project could help save forests being destroyed by insects

Gigaom

A new project that combines satellite data, airplane mapping data and on-the-ground field data of the forests of the Pacific Northwest over several decades could help researchers better manage future forest insect outbreaks across the globe. The project, published in the journal of Forest Ecology and Management recently, was conducted by researchers at Oregon State University.

The study is the first of its kind to combine these various data sets about the effects of two common insects on the forests of Oregon and Washington across so many years (1970 to 2012). The data collected looks at the effects of the mountain pine beetle — a bark beetle which attacks the stems of pine trees leading to rapid tree death — and the western spruce budworm, which eats host trees’ foliage leaving the tree vulnerable and potentially leading to death.

A forest in British Columbia, with pine beetle outbreak. A forest in British Columbia, with pine beetle outbreak.

If…

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