The relationship between beetle kills and forest fire

In contrast to common assumptions of positive feedbacks, we find that insects generally reduce the severity of subsequent wildfires. Specific effects vary with insect type and timing, but both insects decrease the abundance of live vegetation susceptible to wildfire at multiple time lags. By dampening subsequent burn severity, native insects could buffer rather than exacerbate fire regime changes expected due to land use and climate change.

The area of study is the US Pacific Northwest. The paper is Do insect outbreaks reduce the severity of subsequent forest fires? Meigs et. al, Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 4