COREY LESK on Warming Winters and Southern Pine Beetle Migration /136


Across so-called North America, pine forests are rapidly changing as southern pine beetles expand into areas they would have otherwise never known. Our guest this week, Corey Lesk not only explains the phenomena of migrating southern pine beetles and their drastic impact on pine forest communities but also directly links this change as a by-product of our rampant consumerism and capitalist system. The southern pine beetle is often noted as one of the most destructive forest insects, as they parasitically kill off their tree hosts by suspending nutrient flow. How are pine deeply enmeshed in their forest communities and what might it mean if we lost them en masse due to southern pine beetle expansion? How is the southern pine beetle also an objective example of resilience and opportunity under changing climate regimes?

We’ve been led down a dead-end in this conceptualization of life… and we need to change that, and we can change that.
— Corey Lesk / Episode 136
Pine Bark Beetle

Pine Bark Beetle

Corey Lesk is a PhD student in Earth and Environmental Science at Columbia University in New York. He works on the implications of extreme weather and climate change on ecosystems and global food production. Recently, he has published research on southern pine beetle expansion into the north due to warming winters. Corey spends summers paddling in the boreal forests of Eeyou Istchee and Mashteuitsh Nistassinan territories in so-called northern Quebec as means to “work on a more immediate and personal relationship” with the ecosystems he would otherwise reduce into mere scientific equation.

In this episode, Ayana and Corey discuss the implications of southern pine beetle expansion, how forest structures will shift, the threat to native biodiversity, the importance of cold winters, and how, ultimately, forestry measures are not the solution to a transformation that is propelled by our own short-sightedness in choosing consumerism as the dominant expression of this culture.

♫ Music by Little Wings

About Our Podcast…

At For The Wild, we discuss the critical ideas of our time and parlay them into action for the defense and regeneration of natural communities. Key topics include the rediscovery of wild nature, ecological renewal and resistance, and healing from the trauma of individualistic society. We will travel deep into ancient forests, align with the struggles and ways of Earth-based people, and rekindle the mysteries of intuition. We will join today’s brightest visionaries in this momentous work of reimagining a world where humanity can find its way back into the web of life.

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