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Nature Environmental Conservation & Protection

The Insatiable Bark Beetle

by (author) Reese Halter

RMB | Rocky Mountain Books
Initial publish date
Oct 2011
Environmental Conservation & Protection, Insects & Spiders
Recommended Age
Recommended Grade
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


In our ever-warming world, trillions of indigenous bark beetles are killing billions of mature conifers throughout the forests of western North America and around the world, as they embark on their largest and most destructive feeding frenzy in modern times. In areas where cold temperatures traditionally prevented these insects from thriving, our once-healthy but now water-starved trees are becoming more and more vulnerable to the voracious appetites of these destructive pests. With aspects of both our environment and the economy at stake, Dr. Reese Halter’s second RMB Manifesto provides information on the various types of beetles negatively impacting trees, descriptions of the ecosystems they currently inhabit, and an accessible look at the future humanity may face if we do not find ways to control greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, which are contributing factors to the ongoing spread of bark beetles.

About the author

Reese Halter is a forest/ocean defender and prolific writer. He can be contacted through

Reese Halter's profile page

Editorial Reviews

His words, his advice, are powerful but always encouraging and full of hope for our society. Dr. Reese has a knack to simplify complex situations and describe in a poetic, simple and inviting manner the enchanting areas of the world he has studied or visited. To all busy and curious human beings I recommend reading a few pages of Dr. Reese’s stories on a regular basis. It will give you a positive outlook on life.—Aldo Bensadoun, founder and CEO of the ALDO Group

We leave this book, as much a global-warming compendium as a bark-beetle narrative, wanting to warn the poor animals. “Swim North earlier to catch the plankton!” “Evacuate the midden before there’s a forest fire!” By throwing the earth into fresh relief, Halter reinvigorates our desire to save it.—Jake Abrahamson,

Dr. Reese Halter provides compelling evidence that climate change, bark beetles, forest fires and dying forests are incredibly intertwined. He has shown us a frightening but all too real scenario of our future. The Insatiable Bark Beetle is a warning that the unintended consequences of climate change are already with us and are reaching deep into our forests. The balance of nature between plants and insects he describes is fascinating, and an important reminder of the interconnectedness of life on Earth. A great read!—Robert Teskey, distinguished research professor, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Georgia

As someone who regularly shares science with a wide audience, including children, Halter does an excellent job in this 161-page-book of explaining how a rise in temperatures, even one degree, has the capacity to wreak havoc on every ecosystem on the planet, and in this case, how it has opened the door for bark beetles to become overachievers.—Rob Alexander, Rocky Mountain Outlook

A superb science communicator on his home territory, the forests. Dr. Halter’s text is infused with passion, vision and an up-to-the-minute knowledge of the signatures of change that global warming is bringing to Earth’s forest ecosystems. A stunning exposé of recent science from around the globe that is woven in with the author’s deep knowledge of forests to sound the warning of further devastation to our forests unless we can curtail our climate-warming activities. We must heed Dr. Reese’s call so that generations to follow will be able to do what he does and find a special, sacred place in nature where, with just a little practice, you can feel, smell, hear and even taste the wild, untamed, universal energy that courses throughout our planet.—Dr. Chris Weston, Department of Forest & Ecosystem Science, University of Melbourne

Dr. Reese Halter has done it again. Not satisfied with bringing global attention to what honeybees have been trying to tell us, in his most recent book The Insatiable Bark Beetle, he is acting as microphone for the tiny bark beetles. Read Dr. Reese’s new book, in which he beautifully and compassionately tells these stories, and then do something to help fight climate change.—Doug Larson, professor emeritus, University of Guelph, author of Storyteller Guitar

In this lucid and information-rich book, Dr. Reese Halter tells the story of an ancient relationship gone awry, perhaps the most dramatic example to date of how climate change is disrupting and unbalancing the Earth’s ecosystems.—David Perry, professor emeritus, Oregon State University, coauthor of Forest Ecosystems

Can it be true that a handful of fertile soil contains more microorganisms than the total number of humans who have ever lived? Can beetles, birds and trees be linked in a way that can transform our world? This small book has huge implications for our global future.—Robyn Williams, award-winning Australian science journalist and broadcaster, author of True Story Waiting to Happen

Dr. Reese Halter has written a new must-read book. It is jam-packed with fascinating information and awe-inspiring stories that portray the intricacy and complexity of our forest ecosystems, their vulnerability to climate change, and the many services they provide to mankind. Dr. Reese draws on his vast knowledge about tree physiology, forest ecology, climate change and conservation biology, and takes us on a grand ride to some of the wonders of planet Earth and how we all can help retain them for many generations to come.—Professor Gerhard Gries, NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Insect Communication Ecology, Simon Fraser University

Do you have a gut-feeling about the deterioration of many of your favorite trees, a suspicion that humans must be the problem? As Dr. Reese makes clear, the beetles and the fungi are only symptoms. We must look to ourselves to safeguard our remarkable planet for future generations.—Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, author of Storms of my Grandchildren

This is not a pleasant read. In fact, it is frightening — and meant to be so. Most commentary in the popular media is about what might be the future impact of global warming on human welfare. Dr. Reese Halter shifts the emphasis to what has already occurred, present and past, as a result of human–induced global warming, with particular emphasis on the impact of exploding populations of bark beetles on forested ecosystems in North America.... The passion (and despair) of the author pervades the book. There may be the temptation by some to mistake the passion for ideology. This would be a mistake. The book is backed by quality science. Politicians and policy makers should read this book. I thoroughly recommend it.—Roger Sands, professor emeritus, University of Canterbury, author of Forestry in a Global Context

Halter draws us, still with immense articulate detail, into piñon, whitebark and limber pines and their elegant, tortuously interconnected ecosystems. His final elaboration on these ancient mountaineers and one very obviously close to his heart ... is perhaps one of his finest pieces of writing.—Pam Asheton, Trek Online

Dr. Halter presents a convincing picture of the effects of global warming from an unusual perspective. If anyone still has doubts about climate change, they need only read The Insatiable Bark Beetle to see one of the consequences developing as pine bark beetles expand their range and destroy our temperate forests.—Dr. Gordon Moore, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Intel Corporation

Dr. Reese Halter’s love of nature and despair at the devastation that man is wreaking on the Earth’s wild places ring out passionately from the pages of this book. With the world changing so quickly it is hard to know which way to look, but Dr. Reese’s pause to take in the tragedy threatening the ancient forests of North America puts the immediate and immense threat of global warming into sharp focus. As chilling as a howl in a moonlit wood, The Insatiable Bark Beetle is a desperate plea for sense to prevail.—Steve Payne, editor, Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Organic Gardener

The Insatiable Bark Beetle, by Dr. Reese Halter, is a well-written, systematic examination of the growing challenges we humans face by hiding behind the intellectual wall of informed denial and social irresponsibility with respect to global warming.—Chris Maser, zoologist, coauthor of Economics and Ecology: United for a Sustainable World

Librarian Reviews

The Insatiable Bark Beetle

This concise volume is chock full of data, charts and tables that prove elevated temperatures are triggering a massive increase in forest insect populations and diseases. There are five chapters set aside for in-depth discussion of six species of trees. The existence of these trees is in peril because of the bark beetle. Halter says ecosystems are unravelling. The most destructive bark beetle is the mountain pine beetle, which has decimated BC forests. The author believes humans are exceptional problem solvers and that we must plan for future climate disruptions. The final chapter is “What Can You Do to Make a Difference?”

Dr. Halter has won several awards for Dr. Reese’s Planet and The Insatiable Bark Beetle.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2012-2013.

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