2009-09-29

When the beetle-killed trees are gone, the real problems begin

The end of the mountain pine beetle epidemic was supposed to be good news, victory at last.

But the only blessing is the infestation is almost over. The bad news is that there was nothing left to save. After more than a decade and millions of dollars spent futilely trying to stop the spread of the ravenous pests, British Columbia’s Forests Minister Pat Bell says they are finally eating themselves out of house and home.

Compounding the natural disaster, Bell says, is the potential for an economic blow as some of the mills that depend on the bargain-priced, beetle-killed wood run out of feed stock.