New research helps fight mountain pine beetle

Spotlight Staff

The government is partnering with local researchers to combat the mountain pine beetle threat in Alberta.

Mountain pine beetles pose a serious threat to Alberta’s forests and, if left unmanaged, could spread eastward across Canada’s boreal region, says a news release dated Jan. 11. To protect Alberta’s forests, the province is working with Hinton-based fRI Research and supporting its groundbreaking research into stopping the spread of the beetle.

“The mountain pine beetle is one of the major threats facing our forests in Alberta,” says Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier, MLA for Whitecourt – Ste. Anne.

“That’s why it’s so important that we invest in critical research that will prevent this pest from not only spreading throughout Alberta’s forests but throughout the rest of Canada’s forests as well.”

A $500,000 provincial grant allows fRI Research to continue studying the mountain pine beetle and its impacts across the province.

“Innovative approaches will be required in the coming years as Alberta attempts to manage and control the spread of the beetle,” says Ryan Tew, general manager of fRI Research.

“Under the leadership of Dr. Keith McClain, the fRI Research Mountain Pine Beetle Ecology Program will continue to collaborate with researchers from across Western Canada so that we can support our partners’ operational decisions, and inform policy development through science.”

Over the past 10 years, the Mountain Pine Beetle Ecology Program at fRI Research has expanded its knowledge base to manage and control the mountain pine beetle and to address concerns of community resiliency.

Research has led to:

-Spread models that can predict the potential of beetle spread under prevailing and future climatic conditions.

-New and effective beetle detection systems.

-Increased understanding of the beetle life cycle, helping to predict its damaging effects as it moves east.

-Information on the impact of MPB on landscape hydrology and fire risk.

-Data regarding how beetle-killed areas of the forest are regenerating.

fRI Research is a non-profit group based in Hinton that works with government to provide science-based research on sustainable land and resource management.


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