The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae, MPB) epidemic in British Columbia already has the ignominious distinction of being the largest recorded forest pest outbreak in the world. History may also record that these insatiable tree miners also chewed a swath through the province’s ranching industry.
According to the BC Ministry of Forests and Range, the infestation has encompassed a cumulative area of over 16.3 million ha and has impacted more than 675 million cubic metres of timber. To put this in perspective, the area of MPB infestation now considerably exceeds that of the entire Province of Nova Scotia.
This has created unprecedented challenges for the forest industry and the communities that depend on forest sector jobs and tax revenues. In addition, directly and indirectly, the pine beetle is straining an already battered livestock sector.