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The Forest Service is sacrificing a few spruce trees in an effort to save others from hordes of spruce beetles that pose a threat to moose habitat in the Monte Cristo area east of Ogden.

The beetles, which seek out large, downed trees in which to lay their eggs, found the area a perfect site following a blowdown along Baldy Ridge a couple years ago, said Forest Service entomologist Steve Munson.About 900 trees, some as old as 200 years, were most likely blown down by a tornado sometime in August 1987, the Forest Service has said.

The blowdown, which is scattered over about 50 acres, was discovered during the fall of 1987 in a routine flight over the area. Concern was expressed at that time about the danger of spruce beetles moving into the area.

"The spruce beetle can be devastating because it proliferates rapidly. If we lose these trees, it could be as long as 300 years before the area recovers," Munson said.