This Tiny Beetle Is Devastating Forests in the Worst Outbreak Ever

Despite being smaller than a grain of rice, mountain pine beetles are causing big problems for pine forests across North America. Bark beetle colonies feed and reproduce on the inner bark of ponderosa and limber pines, wreaking deadly havoc on the tree's ability to circulate nutrients and absorb water. Due to changes in climate and other factors, the recent outbreak of these destructive insects has reached proportions never before seen in recorded history. Alarming estimates from the U.S. Forest Service state that 100,000 beetle-infested trees fall daily across the United States.

To combat this epidemic, Professor Diana Six has made it her mission to crack the genetic code of the pine tree. She hopes that studying the relationship between the mountain pine beetle and the trees they kill will provide us with valuable insight into the future of our forests. In this short film made at the International Wildlife Film Festival Filmmaker Labs, Professor Six walks among the trees and shares her thoughts on why humans can do more to counteract the effects of climate change.

A film by Chris O’Flaherty (Vimeo), Todd Amacker (Instagram), Shireen Rahimi, Olivia Schmidt (Instagram), and Tim Treuer (Instagram). Music by New West Studios and art by Eric Linton. Special thanks to the University of Montana, WWF, Canon USA, and Day's Edge Productions. Generously funded by WWF and Tangled Bank Studios.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email sfs@natgeo.com. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.

This Tiny Beetle Is Devastating Forests in the Worst Outbreak Ever

Despite being smaller than a grain of rice, mountain pine beetles are causing big problems for pine forests across North America. Bark beetle colonies feed and reproduce on the inner bark of ponderosa and limber pines, wreaking deadly havoc on the tree's ability to circulate nutrients and absorb water. Due to changes in climate and other factors, the recent outbreak of these destructive insects has reached proportions never before seen in recorded history. Alarming estimates from the U.S. Forest Service state that 100,000 beetle-infested trees fall daily across the United States.

To combat this epidemic, Professor Diana Six has made it her mission to crack the genetic code of the pine tree. She hopes that studying the relationship between the mountain pine beetle and the trees they kill will provide us with valuable insight into the future of our forests. In this short film made at the International Wildlife Film Festival Filmmaker Labs, Professor Six walks among the trees and shares her thoughts on why humans can do more to counteract the effects of climate change.

A film by Chris O’Flaherty (Vimeo), Todd Amacker (Instagram), Shireen Rahimi, Olivia Schmidt (Instagram), and Tim Treuer (Instagram). Music by New West Studios and art by Eric Linton. Special thanks to the University of Montana, WWF, Canon USA, and Day's Edge Productions. Generously funded by WWF and Tangled Bank Studios.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email sfs@natgeo.com. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.