A walk along Alaska’s oil pipeline reveals a changed landscape

Tamaracks, delicate-looking conifers with needles that turn orange and fall off in autumn, were in a similar troubled state in 1997. The wormlike larvae of the larch sawfly stripped almost all the adult trees of their needles in the mid to late 1990s. Deprived of their solar panels for several summers, most of the adult trees died. Like the spruce, tamaracks have come back in a big way, with healthy young trees now lining the border of the pipeline road through swampy sections of the Interior.


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