Recent National Forest Surveys show a decrease in the population of young pine beetles and a slowing of the pine beetle epidemic in the Black Hills.
The US Forest Service is finding success in the creation of a less habitable environment through the practices of thinning the forest and sanitizing the trees, reports the Rapid City Journal. Private landowners can contribute to this trend as well by "cutting and chunking" or non-commercial sanitation, although this is most successful when done in combination with nearby landowners and at the right time of year. It isn't all good news, however; there are pockets of population increase, and a few areas with a high risk of beetle expansion, specifically in the northwest and central Black Hills, and southeast of Custer. Overall, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor, Craig Bobzien, sees a positive trend towards the eventual end of the epidemic.