By Tomáš Hlásny, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences
Outbreaks of bark beetles have devastated vast swaths of forests across Europe, flooding media headlines and concerning forest owners, managers, policy-makers, and the public. The outbreaks affected many countries such as Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Germany, Sweden, or France and challenged not only forest management but entire societies. The unprecedented areas of dead and often salvaged trees dramatically changed historically forested environments and compromised landscape cultural values. Heavy logging and transportation of dead trees and consequent impacts on the timber market further aggravated the effects on people and the environment.