Mountain pine beetle could infect forests across Canada: research

New research has heightened fears that mountain pine beetles could infest forests across Canada, now that the beetle has advanced beyond its main host species to broaden its potential range of destruction.

Mountain pine beetles have successfully made the species "jump" from lodgepole pine to jack pine — which could expand the beetles' range to span from B.C. to the Maritimes, according to the research published in the online version of scientific journal Molecular Ecology.

A group of tree biologists and geneticists from the University of Alberta discovered that as the mountain pine beetle spread eastward from central B.C., it successfully jumped from its main host, the lodgepole pine, to the jack pine.