Spruce beetle activity continues to rise in Southcentral Alaska

Community

Aerial surveys conducted this summer by state and federal forest health specialists documented
nearly 558,000 acres of active spruce beetle-caused tree mortality in Southcentral Alaska. The surveys are part of an annual program to detect forest insect and disease occurrences in Alaska forests.With the addition of this year’s data, the cumulative area impacted by spruce beetle in the region is estimated to have grown to roughly 910,000 acres since the current spruce beetle
outbreak began in 2016.

Spruce beetles are native to Alaska and outbreaks have occurred regularly throughout history. The
recent spruce beetle activity is located primarily in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and on the northwestern Kenai Peninsula. Within these areas, over 500,000 acres of active spruce beetle damage were observed in the Matanuska-Susitna River valleys and about 48,000 acres of beetle
activity were mapped on the northwestern Kenai Peninsula this year. The dead and declining spruce trees caused by this insect are highly visible in these areas.

Additionally, spruce beetle activity was observed this year in the northern portions of the Municipality of Anchorage (1,500 ac) as well as scattered, small pockets of activity within the remainder of the municipality.

For information on upcoming free public workshops, signs and symptoms of spruce beetle attacks, recommendations on mitigating spruce beetle, and more, visit www.alaskasprucebeetle.org.
Additional information is available at:
U.S. Forest Service, Forest Health Protection:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/alaskasprucebeetle
DNR Division of Forestry,
Forest Health Program:
http://forestry.alaska.gov/insects/

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