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Mountain pine beetle population in steep decline in Alberta

Control program continues to slow the spread of the pest in Alberta forests

December 21, 2023  By Government of Alberta

Mountain pine beetle. Photo: milehightraveler via Getty Images.

The mountain pine beetle is the most destructive pine insect pest in Alberta. However, cold winters paired with Alberta’s aggressive control program have led to striking progress in preserving the health and resilience of the province’s forests. Mountain pine beetle populations in Alberta have declined 98 per cent since their peak in 2019.

To mitigate wildfire risk and negative impacts to the forest industry, watersheds and endangered species, the province has been actively managing mountain pine beetle for more than 15 years. Alberta will continue to invest in the mountain pine beetle control program to ensure its continued success.

“The mountain pine beetle is a significant threat to our province’s forested lands, and we are working hard to protect the health of our forests and the livelihoods of thousands of Albertans. I am proud of the progress we have made in controlling the spread of mountain pine beetles throughout Alberta,” said Todd Loewen, Minister of Forestry and Parks.

Alberta’s government remains committed to working with local and Indigenous partners to combat the threat posed by the mountain pine beetle through a variety of control activities. Ground operations are underway in southwestern areas of the province. Alberta will continue to protect the health, resilience and sustainability of forests for current and future generations.


Alberta uses management measures like population monitoring, risk assessments, cutting and burning infested trees, and harvesting highly vulnerable pine to reduce the impact of mountain pine beetle in the province’s forests. The beetle has the capacity to kill large tracts of mature pine, threatening Alberta’s communities, industry and forest resilience.

The mountain pine beetle carries a blue-stain fungi that clogs and destroys the conductive tissue of an affected tree when the beetle burrows into the tree to feed and take cover. There are 5.5 million hectares of pine in Alberta that is susceptible to mountain pine beetle with a value of more than $11 billion.

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