Fewer trees killed by pine beetle this year than last

Leader staff

There were 1,546 fewer trees killed by mountain pine beetles in the Slave Lake Forest Area in 2020 than in 2019, says an Alberta government news release. This year, 4,474 were killed and last year 6,020.

The news release goes on to say:

“Aerial fall surveys show the fight against the mountain pine beetle is working, thanks to aggressive control measures in infested areas and colder winters.

“The Government of Canada has announced $60 million in funding for Alberta over the next three years to support this ongoing work.”

The news release included province-wide information.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry surveyed 7.8 million hectares (19.3 million acres) of forest across Alberta. This is the most land surveyed since 2008.

The survey showed pine beetles killed over 147,000 trees, down from 244,000 in 2019.

These dead trees were in seven forest areas.

Fewer trees were killed in all seven forest areas. The numbers of trees killed ranged from 135 (Lac La Biche Forest Area) to 115,020 (Edson Forest Area). In 2019, these were Lac La Biche (342) and Edson (140,997). There were also trees killed by pine beetles in Grande Prairie, Whitecourt, Rocky Mountain, and Calgary Forest Areas.

Over the winter, these dead trees will be surveyed on the ground, cut down and burned to stop the spread of pine beetles.

Area scanned for pine beetles in 2020 by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
A map of the pine beetle 2020 heli-GPS survey done by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Each red dot indicates a red pine tree which likely died from a pine beetle infestation.
The provincial government doesn’t scan National Parks and not all forests in Alberta have pine trees.
Maps courtesy of the government of Alberta.

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