SANTA FE – A new report says near-record heat and persistent drought in New Mexico wiped out more than 120,000 acres of ponderosa pine, spruce, piñon and other trees last year.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports an annual report on the health of the state’s forests found that forest mortality increased nearly 50 percent across New Mexico in 2018.
State entomologist John Formby says the heat and drought weakened the ability of trees to fight off beetles and other pests.
Formby says the health of the state’s forests should improve this year due to heavier winter snows and a wet start to spring.
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have said it is highly likely New Mexico will lose the vast majority of its forests by 2050.