Tuesday, November 23, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 47 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“Surveys confirm the number of new trees attacked by mountain pine beetle have declined from a year ago.”
- Mel Knight  
- Sustainable Resource   
Development Minister   
 
A sharp decline in the number of trees infested with mountain pine beetles has been detected this year, thanks in large part to government action over the past two years to remove infested trees.
According to aerial surveys conducted by the Government of Alberta across the province since July, only 50 sites with a total of 250 fading trees were detected throughout Kananaskis Country and the Crowsnest Pass.
This number is significantly less than that of last year, when 5,500 infected trees were detected in the southern Rocky Mountains.
Throughout the course of the summer, crews also conducted red-to-green surveys, wherein the number of newly attacked (green) trees was compared to that of attacked (red) trees.
An average of one green tree to every five fading/red trees was calculated, suggesting a strong decline in beetle populations in the area.
“Surveys confirm the number of new trees attacked by mountain pine beetle have declined from a year ago,” said Sustainable Resource Development Minister Mel Knight in a provincial press release.
“There were no inflights of beetles from B.C. last summer.”
 
This decline is attributed to government action against the pine beetle over the last two years, as well as extreme temperature fluctuations throughout the province.
By removing infested trees, the number of beetles hatching over the summer was reduced, decreasing the number available to attack healthy trees this year.
However, Knight cautioned that these findings do not signal the end of Alberta’s battle against the pine beetles.
“We had some success this year, but the battle is far from over,” he said. “There are still pockets of infested trees to be controlled, there are still dead trees on our landscape from previous years’ attacks, we are still threatened by future inflights from outside the province, and we are working to renew the forests killed to date.”
SRD has located roughly 100 trees throughout the Cypress Hills area to fell and burn, and ground work is currently being completed in Kananaskis and the Pass, with control work to commence in January.
Mountain pine beetles threaten the health of six million hectares of Alberta’s forests, with infestations beginning in southwestern Alberta in 2002 and west-central Alberta in 2006.
For more information about mountain pine beetles and what is being done to ward off infestations, visit www.mpb.alberta.ca.
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   Volume 80 - Issue 47 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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