Provinces join ranks to stop eastward march of mountain pine beetle

It’s no longer a matter of if, but when the destructive mountain pine beetle will spread east of Alberta through Canada’s northern boreal forest, say provincial forestry experts in Manitoba and Ontario.

These provinces, along with Saskatchewan, are stepping up efforts to reduce the insect’s anticipated damage. A recent study confirming that, in Alberta, the beetle has jumped species from lodgepole pine to jack pine trees – the most common type of pine in the boreal forest – has amplified concerns and stirred new calls for the federal government to play a stronger role in implementing a national forestry pest strategy.

Ottawa earmarked nearly $13-million in 2006 to develop a pest plan, but that funding has been spent. Responsibility for the strategy now sits with a working group of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers.