Drought-stressed trees in Alberta could see more mountain pine beetles

As Alberta conducts annual aerial surveys of its forests, the province’s forest expert says she expects they’ll start to see the signs of drought — including more mountain pine beetles.

This year’s surveys, which started on Aug. 15 and run until Sept. 15, come after extremely dry weather hit the province throughout the summer.

“Drought has a variety of effects on the forests and obviously on the insect population,” said Erica Samis, manager of forest health and adaptation with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “When a tree is drought stressed, it can’t withstand attacks.