Lessons Learned From Pine Beetle Epidemic: FORREX Conference

The Forest Research Extension Partnership (FORREX) has organized a two day conference (June 10 & 11 at UNBC) under the title “Mountain Pine Beetle: From lessons learned to community-based solutions.

Over 150 people attended the first day of the conference which was organized by FORREX to “highlight and share significant ‘lessons learned’ from both First Nations and non-First Nations perspectives, and to discuss what the latest science, experiential and Traditional Knowledge is telling us about the influence of the [pine beetle] as a disturbance agent.” Conference chair Al Wiensczyk of FORREX opened the conference and welcomed the participants.

Phil Burton, who is an adjunct professor at UNBC and the author of over 50 scientific papers, told the audience in his session that natural “disturbance” of the forest ecology is a necessary agent of ecological diversification. From that perspective, “disturbance,” whether it is insect infestation or other natural event, cannot and should not be completely eliminated, but instead foresters should have the perspective of “managing” it. The key issue is whether or not the “disturbance” is inside or outside the bounds of natural variability.