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Gazette Premium Content Survey: mountain pine beetle infestation slows

photo - FILE - This July 20, 2007 photo shows a hillside stand of lodge pole pine trees, fronted by aspens inside the gate of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colo., that has been killed by Pine Beetles. University of Colorado researchers say mountain pine beetles that are devastating forests across the West are now breeding twice in some years.  (AP Photo/Will Powers, File) + caption
FILE - This July 20, 2007 photo shows a hillside stand of lodge pole pine trees, fronted by aspens inside the gate of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colo., that has been killed by Pine Beetles. University of Colorado researchers say mountain pine beetles that are devastating forests across the West are now breeding twice in some years. (AP Photo/Will Powers, File)
Associated Press Updated: January 31, 2014 at 5:14 pm

GOLDEN — A new survey of Colorado forests indicates that the mountain pine beetle epidemic has slowed dramatically, but the spruce beetle outbreak continues to spread.

The survey by the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado State Forest Service was released Thursday. The two agencies annually survey forests in the state for insect and disease.

The survey found that the acreage of trees infected by the mountain pine beetle has dropped to its lowest in 15 years. Statewide, the mountain pine beetle was active on 97,000 acres in 2013.

The spruce beetle outbreak grew to 398,000 acres in 2013, an increase of about 216,000 acres over 2012.

The survey finds that aspen forest conditions in the state have continued to improve.

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