Pine beetles able to survive winter across much of Alberta, survey finds, suggesting populations unlikely to decline in near future; province advocates continued aggressive action to combat infestation that threatens 6 million hectares of Alberta forest

EDMONTON, Alberta , June 18, 2014 (press release) – Field surveys indicate this past winter brought both good and bad news for 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 also 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.”
-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. Infestations threaten watersheds, fish and wildlife habitat, tourism and recreation values, and the province’s $4-billion forest industry.

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

Beetle population surveys were conducted this year between mid-May and mid-June at 100 sites. Surveys involved cutting core samples from trees and comparing the number of dead versus live beetle larvae under the bark.

Under the Building Alberta Plan, our government is investing in families and communities, living within our means, and opening new markets for Alberta's resources to ensure we're able to fund the services Albertans told us matter most to them. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for.

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