Helping B.C. Forests Recover: Tree Canada Extends ReLeaf Program to Cover Destruction from Mountain Pine Beetle

On September 21, Tree Canada launched its B.C. Fire ReLeaf program in West Kelowna with the help of local dignitaries including West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater and representatives from FedEx Express Canada, TELUS, BC Landscape & Nursery Association, TREE Brewing and private land owners. The program will help replace urban and rural forests throughout the province that were destroyed by wildfire. Communities such as West Kelowna, Lillooet, Sorrento, Clinton and Kamloops were among many locations hit hard by the fires which have destroyed over 210,000 hectares in 2009.

After further consultation with B.C. communities it was decided to extend the ReLeaf program to include those areas affected by the mountain pine beetle. British Columbia is experiencing the largest recorded mountain pine beetle outbreak in North American history with over 8 million hectares (20 million acres) affected in southern and central B.C. The beetle, a native insect which affects mostly lodgepole pine, is normally controlled by cold winter temperatures.

Tree Canada is distributing coupons to B.C. residents who lost trees to the fires and the Mountain Pine Beetle so they can purchase new ones at reduced prices for their properties from designated nurseries. Municipalities, First Nation communities and small landowners who own less than 10 ha (25 acres) will also be able to apply for funds to help cover part of the cost of replanting their parks and forests. Affected residents, landowners, municipalities and First Nations can apply for assistance at www.treecanada.ca.