Protecting Canada’s Forests From the Mountain Pine Beetle

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October 8, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - The health of Canada’s forests keeps our economy strong, sustains good jobs and preserves our environment.

That is why the Government of Canada is committed to investing in the management of harmful pests that damage ecosystems and potentially affect the economy and the environment.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced federal funding of $68.4 million over three years to help control, research and mitigate the impacts of the mountain pine beetle on Canada’s forests.

The funding includes:

  • $60 million to the Government of Alberta for forest management and research;
  • $6.9 million to Parks Canada to mitigate mountain pine beetle impacts, including wildfire risks in the Rocky Mountain National Parks; and
  • $1.5 million to Natural Resources Canada to enhance its core research program.

The organizations will work together to address the challenges posed by the spread of the mountain pine beetle, one of the most damaging pests in western Canada. The mountain pine beetle outbreak has had significant negative effects on Alberta pine forests.

This funding includes $24 million for fiscal year 2020–2021 to address the outbreak of mountain pine beetle in Alberta and the Rocky Mountain National Parks while mitigating negative impacts on the forest sector and communities. Since 2010, Natural Resources Canada has invested $12.9 million in mountain pine beetle–related research in Alberta, and we continue to assist provinces in monitoring and research to address the spread of this harmful insect and to identify recovery options for affected trees.

Our goal is to protect the forest sector and communities where mountain pine beetle outbreaks are prevalent and slow the eastward spread of the insect throughout Canada. Not only does this help the forest industry, but it also protects the environment, including wildlife habitat, biodiversity and water quality, all while reducing fire hazards resulting from the infestation. This investment also helps mitigate effects of climate change through enhanced carbon storage in forests.

The government remains dedicated to providing continued scientific leadership to understand and alleviate the risks and damage to our forests caused by forest pests. 

Quotes

“We want our forests to remain healthy for generations to come. Protecting Canada from the mountain pine beetle protects our forest sector, our wildlife habitat and our water quality, and it helps mitigate the effects of climate change.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“The mountain pine beetle outbreak has negatively impacted forests across Alberta and British Columbia, including our treasured national parks. Parks Canada is pleased to work with Natural Resources Canada and the Province of Alberta to combat the mountain pine beetle and mitigate mountain pine beetle–related wildfire risk in the Rocky Mountain national parks.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Environment and Climate Change 

“The Alberta government thanks Natural Resources Minister the Honourable Seamus O’Regan for understanding the importance of the forest sector to Alberta. We have spent more than $560 million since 2004 to fight back against the pest that continues to threaten $11-billion worth of pine in Alberta’s forests. Our forestry workers have made significant gains against this invasive species, and with this additional funding they will be able to do even more.”

The Honourable Devin Dreeshen
Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

“The Government of Canada is to be commended for its action on mountain pine beetle. The beetle is a threat to the environment and jobs in Alberta and throughout Canada. This funding will support work to mitigate the beetle’s spread and maintain healthy forests.”

Jason Krips, President and CEO
Alberta Forest Products Association

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Source: Natural Resources Canada