Pine beetle alive and well on the Island

If you thought the woods around the Capital Regional District were safe from the ravages of the dreaded mountain pine beetle, think again.

A study conducted for CRD Water Services concludes the southern Vancouver Island climate and forest habitat is ideal for the voracious beetle, which has destroyed thousands of hectares of pine trees in the Interior, and that the water district lands are a likely home base for small, local populations.

However, the saving grace for local forests is that stands of pine trees are surrounded by Douglas fir -- which is unpalatable to hungry pine beetles -- and many of the pines are growing on poor soil, meaning they are not as appetizing to the insects.