Scientists say there's been a significant reduction in the amount of Nevada forest under assault from bark beetles, but they fear lingering drought will further weaken trees and make them more susceptible to future attacks.
Nevada Division of Forestry specialist Gene Phillips says aerial surveys show populations of the tree-killing insects plummeted across the state last year compared to 2012 - from more than 500,000 acres to only about 50,000. The infestations include mountain pine beetles and the Pinyon Engraver beetle. He says it's likely part of a normal boom-bust cycle in the population of the critters and probably won't last if the 3-year-old drought continues.
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