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SK to fight mountain pine beetle

Saskatchewan will contribute $450,000 to mountain pine beetle control efforts in Alberta as the two provinces work together to aggressively detect and remove infested trees at the leading edge of the infestation in eastern Alberta.


August 15, 2012
By Gov't of Saskatchewan

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The partnership agreement provides a framework for a comprehensive regional strategy to combat the beetle before it gets established in Canada’s jack pine forests and aims to stop or significantly slow the beetle’s spread into Saskatchewan’s north.

The mountain pine beetle outbreak has killed approximately 60 per cent of British Columbia’s lodgepole pine forests. Six years ago, the infestation crossed the Rocky Mountains, spreading halfway across Alberta. Research has confirmed that mountain pine beetle can survive in jack pine, which means that forests in northern Saskatchewan and across Canada are at risk.

“The mountain pine beetle represents a significant threat to Saskatchewan’s pine forests and to the environmental, social and economic contributions they make to our quality of life,” Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said. “Working with Alberta provides our best chance of preventing this insect from becoming established in our majestic northern forest.”

“We appreciate Saskatchewan’s recognition of the interprovincial implications of mountain pine beetle infestations in our boreal forest and how this impacts our environment, our communities and our economies,” Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Diana McQueen said. “This partnership is a great example of the many ways we work closely with our neighbours to strengthen our region.”

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The Government of Saskatchewan is contracting with Great Western Forestry Ltd. to survey forests in Saskatchewan’s northwest and in the Cypress Hills for mountain pine beetle and to mark infested trees for removal. This is the second year the province has contracted with Great Western to a value of $350,000.

“Jack pine makes up 40 per cent of Saskatchewan’s softwood volume upon which a significant portion of our forest industry depends,” Cheveldayoff said. “The mountain pine beetle program will help protect the long-term sustainability of Saskatchewan’s forest and its industry, which currently accounts for more than 2,600 direct jobs and more than $400 million in annual product sales.”

Surveys will begin in September and be completed by November. Last year’s surveys detected no mountain pine beetle in Saskatchewan outside of the known infestation in the Cypress Hills. The information provided by the insect and disease surveys is essential to the development of an effective provincial and regional response.