Pine Beetle, Mr. Opportunity?

For a workshop on an epidemic that threatens to wipe out the majority of B.C.'s mature pines, many of the speakers at Monday's Union of BC Municipalities Pine Beetle Conference were putting on their most optimistic faces. There were two glasses half full, one silver lining and an adage about wind and sailboats to go along with the talk of adjustment and opportunities.

But following on the heels of last week's provincial report that suggested the infestation that currently affects 13 million hectares of forests could kill close to 80 per cent of the Interior's pines in the next few years, another picture sometimes emerged. By day's end, the pine beetle had been blamed for bringing on everything from natural disasters to cultural genocide.