2016-04-28

Pine beetles not responsible for wildfires, research shows

There have been growing fears in British Columbia that an increasing number of catastrophic wildfires could erupt because more than 18 million hectares of forest have been killed by a pine-beetle epidemic over the past two decades.

But new research shows that beetle infestations affecting millions of hectares in the U.S. Pacific Northwest have not been causing more severe wildfires.

“Insect outbreak areas may not be as much of a fire hazard as we previously thought,” Garrett Meigs, the lead author of the study, said in an interview on Thursday.

2016-04-11

B.C.'s pine beetle-gnawed, carbon spewing forests recovering quickly says UVic researcher

A study out of University of Victoria says nature is finding a way to heal from the devastation of British Columbia’s mountain pine beetle outbreak.

The research from the UVic-led Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions says global warming is making B.C. forests grow faster and the trees are taking in more carbon dioxide, the gas associated with the globe’s steadily climbing temperatures.

Under normal conditions, forests act as so-called “carbon sinks,” scrubbing the atmosphere by pulling in CO2 while releasing oxygen.

2016-04-08

Grappling with pest problems, forestry sector seeks new markets

The mountain pine beetle has had a huge impact on B.C.'s forest industry, but it's not the only issue facing the industry.

The Council of Forest Industries held its annual general meeting in Kelowna this week. One of the issues discussed was how the forestry industry can be competitive in the face of the pine beetle and other threats.

The conference winds up today, but before the conference began, Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries spoke with Radio West host Audrey McKinnon.

2016-03-25

Spruce beetle could be sign of 'new normal'

An outbreak of the spruce beetle in the Omineca region north of Prince George could be a harbinger of things to come if the conditions that brought it to the fore remain in place in the coming years, according to a University of Northern British Columbia professor.

Like its cousin, the pine beetle, deep cold is one of the insect's biggest enemies, so the recent series of "almost Okanagan-like" winters in this region has done little if anything to halt the bug's progress, Dezene Huber, a professor in UNBC's ecosystem science program told The Citizen.

Unlike its cousin, the spruce beetle prefers fallen trees and thanks to some major blowdowns, probably brought on by the more unpredictable and severe weather that comes with climate change, they've been getting an abundance of those, Huber also noted.

2016-03-23

Pine beetle infestation triples in Jasper park

The mountain pine beetle continues to attack pine trees at an exponential rate in Jasper National Park and has the potential to overrun the park’s forests within the next few years.

According to Parks Canada, just over 21,500 hectares of the park’s pine forests have now been colonized by the beetle, more than three times the amount mapped in 2014. A year earlier, the agency mapped 122 hectares.

“Controlling the mountain pine beetle is not a workable solution,” said Salman Rasheed, Jasper’s resource conservation manager, during Jasper National Park’s annual forum, March 16.