2010-06-30

Now We Are Blaming The Beetle Kill For The Decline Of The Sockeye

The Cohen Inquiry into the Collapse of the Sockeye Salmon run on the Fraser may spend some time in Prince George as they wind their way through the hearings.

That’s good news for anyone who doesn’t have the time, or the inclination to spend personal money to go to Vancouver to take part.

It’s the same old story , the fish for the most part end up here. The Early Stewarts and the late run, along with the Quesnel fish and the few that are left that used to head on past the Stewart River to the rivers above, pass through this part of the Province.

2010-06-27

Firm considers biomass-to-fuel plant

A Canadian biofuel company hopes to open a production plant for transforming biomass into high-octane gasoline in Northwest Montana by late 2012 or early 2013.

Don Sigler, the Whitefish-based chief financial officer for CORE BioFuel Inc., said he couldn’t disclose exactly where the company is looking to build a plant, but said preliminary talks have begun.

“We are pleased with our progress in developing our demonstration production facility in British Columbia and we are now seeking potential sites for additional licensee facilities in those areas of the United States where forestry waste is readily available,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for Montana.”

Wildfire sparks evacuation alert near Vanderhoof

High winds and dry conditions caused a fire to double in size Monday in central B.C. as nearby residents were told to be prepared to evacuate.

An evacuation alert was in effect for more than 30 homes after the Greer Creek blaze spread to about 50 square kilometres in an area of pine-beetle ravaged forest southwest of Vanderhoof.

Fire information officer Joyce Poulin, with the Prince George Fire Centre, said firefighters are unsure of the exact size because heavy smoke was hampering efforts to measure the blaze.

2010-06-26

BC Interior lumber to peak in three to five years

The British Columbia (BC) Interior’s timber harvest and sawmill production is expected to undergo a long-awaited downsizing as the effects of the mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation take their toll on the timber supply.

The epidemic is responsible for one of the largest natural environmental catastrophes ever seen, and could eventually kill up to one billion m3 of standing lodgepole pine timber in the BC Interior.

For perspective, the total volume of killed pine trees in the province by 2022 would produce enough lumber to build 40 years’ supply of single-family houses in the US (at today’s low rate), or 175 years’ worth of single-family houses in Canada.

2010-06-25

Pine beetles have won but the battle isn’t over in the Dunes

After four years of fighting, it's official: The beetles have won.

The fight has been a long and tough one, literally fought tree-to-tree, but in the Dunes recreation area south of Grande Prairie the mountain pine beetle is now expected to consume much of the area's vast number of pine trees.

Crews have logged nearly 200,000 trees and have tested and tried to save even more.

2010-06-23

B.C. planters petition for more trees

With the assault of the Mountain Pine beetle affecting some 15 million hectares of British Columbia forest and the province’s forestry and silviculture industry in dire straits, the Western Silviculture Contractors Association believes the public need to be more involved.

In an effort to draw public attention to the plight of the silviculture and forestry industries the WSCA is circulating a ‘Community petition to the government to grow more trees and plant more trees.’

The petition calls for the government to invest in re-planting the forest areas devastated by the pine beetle. This will help the beleaguered silviculture industry and secure a bright future for the forest industry as a whole, the association says.

2010-06-22

Meeting Set for Vanderhoof to Talk About Wildfire

A community meeting has been set for tomorrow night at the Friendship Centre in Vanderhoof, to answer questions about the Greer Creek fire.

The blaze is now 5200 hectares in size and there are about 160 firefighters on scene trying to contain it.

High winds and dead standing beetle killed trees have combined to create a very difficult fire fighting task although crews have been making some progress.

2010-06-21

Wildfire uncontained in central B.C.

A wildfire blazing southwest of Vanderhoof, B.C., now covers more than 30 square kilometres and residents in its path have been put on evacuation alert.

Fire information officer Joyce Poulin says the Greer Creek fire is burning in bone-dry, beetle-killed timber south of Nulki Lake in central B.C.

An evacuation alert was expanded Sunday night for about 30 properties around the lake but no homes have been damaged. Sixty firefighters are battling the blaze, with the help of three helicopters dropping water on the fire and air tankers dropping retardant.

2010-06-16

Program to help replace trees killed by pine beetles

Alberta residents and communities who lose trees to mountain pine beetles will get financial help to plant replacements.

Under the Alberta Mountain Pine Beetle ReLeaf program, urban dwellers, acreage owners and municipalities can apply for discounts on the cost of replacement trees.

It’s a partnership of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, not-for-profit group Tree Canada and business sponsors Telus and Strive Energy. The partners collectively contributed $100,000 to start the program off. New sponsors and individual donors are also being sought.

2010-06-15

Effects of a Severe Mountain Pine Beetle Epidemic in Western Alberta, Canada under Two Forest Management Scenarios

We used a simulation model to investigate possible effects of a severe mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) epidemic under two management scenarios in Alberta, Canada. Our simulated outbreak was based on the current epidemic in British Columbia, which may kill close to 80% of the province's pine volume. Our two management scenarios were conventional harvest and a pine-reduction strategy modeled on a component of Alberta's Mountain Pine Beetle Management Strategy. The pine strategy seeks to reduce the number of susceptible pine stands by 75% over the next 20 years through targeted harvesting by the forest industry. Our simulations showed that the pine strategy could not be effectively implemented, even if the onset of the beetle outbreak was delayed for 20 years. Even though we increased mill capacity by 20% and directed all harvesting to high volume pine stands during the pine strategy's surge cut, the amount of highly susceptible pine was reduced by only 43%. Additional pine volume remained within mixed stands that were not targeted by the pine strategy. When the outbreak occurred in each scenario, sufficient pine remained on the landscape for the beetle to cause the timber supply to collapse. Alternative management approaches and avenues for future research are discussed.

2010-06-14

Alberta to cover trees destroyed by pine beetle

Alberta is offering to replace trees ravaged by pine beetles on private or municipal land.

The joint effort with business and the non-profit organization Tree Canada allows city dwellers, acreage owners and municipalities to apply for money to replace trees destroyed by the beetles.

Homeowners are eligible for a coupon worth $80 for a replacement tree.

2010-06-12

Software eases sawmills’ beetle burden

With the mountain pine beetle expanding throughout Alberta’s pine forest, sawmill operators will increasingly face the challenge of adapting operations to accommodate an increased diet of checked (split) logs.

Checking is a result of rapid drying of the log after death caused by the beetle. The condition makes it harder to extract lumber value and volume from each piece processed, as British Columbia mills have already discovered.

FPInnovations has developed a new software tool called Return to Log Calculator for Checked MPB Logs to address this challenge. The tool allows sawmills to input their own parameters to predict the impact on their bottom line of processing a range of checked logs based on check severity, volume and diameter. Development of the software was funded by B.C. Forestry Innovation Investment, and is being made freely available to B.C. and Alberta sawmills.


2010-06-08

Pine beetle may affect drinking water, experts say

A major attack of the mountain pine beetle on a forest in Alberta could threaten more than just the trees.

It could also lead to water quality issues that may create headaches when it comes to treating drinking water downstream, according to an expert at the University of Alberta.

Healthy trees, especially older ones, use a "huge" amount of water from early spring through October, according to Uldis Silins, a professor in the department of renewable resources at the University of Alberta.

Pine beetle a threat to water quality, quantity, as well as trees

Mountain Pine Beetle is well-known for devastating pine forests, but it also poses a potential threat to water quantity and quality, University of Alberta researchers predict.

Poor water quality, brought on by premature snowmelt and increased flow to rivers and streams, will likely be a side effect of the insect’s destruction of lodgepole pine forests, an ongoing U of A study is suggesting.

Researchers Uldis Silins and Ellen Macdonald, professors in the Department of Renewable Resources, simulated Mountain Pine Beetle kill in selected stands of lodgepole in west-central Alberta, to study how much additional water will run off and where it goes, after the trees lose their needles and are no longer able to capture rain or snowfall.

Pine beetle infestation radically increases downstream runoff: professor

Research indicates mountain pine beetles are likely to cause water problems for communities downstream of the forests they infest.

Increased runoff from dead forests is likely to reduce the quality of the water in the streams and rivers that flow out of them, says Uldis Silins, a professor at the University of Alberta.

He suggests water treatment plants will have to be able to filter out more sediment and organic nutrients. As well, rivers downstream of the beetle-infected forests could also suffer algae blooms.


2010-06-04

Researchers ponder what kind of forest will grow in the wake of the mountain pine beetle

The devastating effects of the Mountain Pine Beetle are obvious, as witnessed in the millions of dead, rust-coloured lodgepole pines scarring British Columbia and other forests in Canada.

What isn’t clear, however, is what will happen after the destructive insect moves on. What kind of forest will grow in its wake?

A pair of University of Alberta forestry professors—Uldis Silins and Ellen Macdonald—are circling that question, and are starting to come up with scenarios as they are look to the future, well past the invasion of Mountain Pine Beetle, to a long-term goal of forest recovery, resilience and resistance.