Alberta’s forests, forestry communities and workers will benefit from a $25-million investment by the governments of Canada and Alberta to manage the spread of mountain pine beetle. The investment will generate immediate employment opportunities.
The Government of Canada has committed $10 million and the Government of Alberta, an additional $15 million. These funds will be used for beetle management, including ground surveys to help determine the full extent of beetle infestation and to remove infested trees. Early detection and treatment of infested trees is a vital method for mitigating the spread of the beetle.
This investment follows a massive beetle flight this summer, which resulted in mountain pine beetles being detected as far east as Slave Lake and Entwistle. Monitoring of beetle flights in late July and August showed significant growth, similar to the 2006 flight that spread beetles through much of the Grande Prairie and Peace area.
Funding is directed toward limiting the spread of mountain pine beetle eastward across Alberta through various activities, including the preparation and implementation of a management strategy and action plan based on extensive aerial and ground surveys. Specific measures to limit the spread of the beetle will include identifying and removing single trees that have been either impacted or killed by the infestation.
In addition to creating immediate employment opportunities, the program aims to protect key watersheds by slowing the spread of mountain pine beetle further east or along the eastern slopes. Priority areas are in the large, continuous strands of pine in west-central Alberta – including areas of Grande Cache, Whitecourt, Edson, Swan Hills and Slave Lake – and the eastern slopes of the Rockies. The initiative will be led and implemented by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.
Over the past three years, Alberta has directed more than $200 million into fighting mountain pine beetle. These efforts help protect forest values that add $9 billion to Alberta’s economy and employ 38,000 Albertans in primary forestry and secondary manufacturing. Six million hectares of Alberta pine forest are at risk of beetle attack.
Federal funding is being provided through the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. Over the next two years, the Community Adjustment Fund will deliver a total of $1 billion to local economies throughout Canada, including more than $104 million over two years to support the most affected Alberta communities. For more information on the Community Adjustment Fund, please visit: www.wd-deo.gc.ca. To learn more about Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit: www.actionplan.gc.ca.