Aggressive action still needed to fight mountain pine beetle in Alberta

Pulp & Paper Canada
June 25, 2014
By Pulp & Paper Canada
Mountain pine beetle control crew at work in Alberta. After determining a tree is infested with mountain pine beetle, control crews will fall the tree and cut it into smaller portions to be piled and burned. Photo courtesy Government of Alberta.
Mountain pine beetle control crew at work in Alberta. After determining a tree is infested with mountain pine beetle, control crews will fall the tree and cut it into smaller portions to be piled and burned. Photo courtesy Government of Alberta.

Field surveys indicate this past winter brought both good and bad news for Alberta with regard to the province’s mountain pine beetle populations. Government of Alberta survey results show moderate to high over-winter survival in most of the pine forests inhabited by beetles. Extremely high beetle success was detected in small pockets in areas south of Grande Prairie, northwest of Edson and west of Manning.

There was a large area surrounding Lesser Slave Lake where beetle success was low.

“Results show beetles continue to survive the winter across much of our pine forests, meaning populations are unlikely to naturally decline in the near future. Aggressive action remains our best option to fight beetle infestations in Alberta,” said Robin Campbell, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.

Six-million hectares of pine forest in Alberta are susceptible to attacks by mountain pine beetle. The province says infestations threaten watersheds, fish and wildlife habitat, tourism and recreation values, and the $4-billion forest industry.

Since 2004-05, Alberta has directed more than $414 million to the province’s mountain pine beetle program.

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