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Praying for Old Man Winter


July 1, 2008
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The Mountain Pine Beetle has now crossed the Rockies and is nibbling into western Alberta. The hard winter of 2007/08 helped kill off and repulse the bugs but, cold comfort or not, Alberta and vast no…

The Mountain Pine Beetle has now crossed the Rockies and is nibbling into western Alberta. The hard winter of 2007/08 helped kill off and repulse the bugs but, cold comfort or not, Alberta and vast northern forests are still at risk.

While not wishing to be alarmist, Canada Forest Services federal scientist Werner Kurz warns if the global climate continues to warm, the beetles will spread farther north and to higher elevations. If so, future outbreaks “could go across the boreal.”

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The Canadian boreal runs from the Yukon to Atlantic Canada. About 1,000 kilometres deep, it covers more than one-third of Canada and more than three-quarters of our total forested land. In its forays over the Rockies, the MPB has attacked species such as jack pine common in the boreal forest.

In normal times, the northern prairies enjoy long and deep killing winters and spring cold snaps that naturally keep the MPB in check. But global warming could change all that.

Keep an eye on the thermometres and pray.


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