OURAY COUNTY The beetle mosaic

By Bill Tiedje

It's no surprise to many residents that beetle infestations have been damaging and killing trees in Ouray County, but the high degree of diversity in both tree species and beetle pests requires a nuanced response.

"Every tree species has its own beetle and its own problem," said forester Austin Shelby of the Colorado State Forest Service.
Shelby explained that for five evergreen tree species present in the county, there is a different insect pest affecting each of those species.
In Ouray, the fir engraver beetle is killing white fir trees.
"While it looks bad, and it is kind of bad, we're not going to see total devastation," he said.
Unlike forests on the Front Range which are dominated by one tree species, the lodgepole pine, the forest surrounding Ouray is a diverse mix of species.

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