Rocky Mountain Books, $14.95
Dr. Reese Halter, BScF’91
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Academics and eminent scientists worldwide are endorsing and supporting, with insightful critiques on a truly broad scale, a tightly written treatise on rapacious bark beetles. Collectively, these amazingly adaptable insects have marched into mountainsides of lodgepole pine, expanding enterprisingly now into other pine species, spruce even.
Author Dr. Reese Halter is well known and respected as an academic and biologist. His first chapters explaining the correlation of beetles to climate change to the essential carbon sink effect of this planet’s forests are, indeed, scholarly. Statistics and percentages stare out from the pages of The Insatiable Bark Beetle’s second chapter, “Global Warming, A Climate Disrupter.” These pages take dedication to read, digest, absorb.
When, though, the reader slides into the forests themselves, Halter shape-shifts into the true craft of wordsmithing. Lodgepole pine forests can be sniffed, felt, mourned for their demise, and are followed by descriptions of hardier but still vulnerable spruce.
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 – the tough and resilient bristlecone pines – is perhaps one of his finest pieces of writing.
Reviewed by Pam Asheton