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October 27, 2017 8:41 pm

Spruce Beetle To Impact AAC

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 @ 11:34 AM

Prince George, B.C. – They  are small,  but they are having a major  impact on the  forests in the interior, they  are the Spruce Bark Beetle,  and  a two day conference  is underway in Prince George to learn how  all  stakeholders can work together to  mitigate the  impact of the latest invasion.The  infestation  will have an impact on decisions about the mid term timber supply in the  region says B.C.’s Chief Forester, Diane Nicholls ” We are looking at the impacts of the Spruce Beetle, on top of the impacts of the mountain Pine Beetle,  we’re looking at  not just what it’s doing to the mid term timber supply  but  what it’s actually also doing on other values  on the land base,  be that   wildlife  habitat,  be that water management,   be that recreational  opportunities.  Spruce Beetle as you know is a different beast than the mountain pine beetle, it is usually  in salt and pepper stands, they are not mono-culture stands of spruce,  They are   mixed with other species,  and those other species, as well as the spruce,  are part of our mid term timber supply.”

Nicholls says  the study of the  spruce beetle infestation has three  aspects:

  • detection of the current  population,  where its growing, how its diminishing,  how its moving
  • direction to licensees  for treatment,  so  how are people going to address  the damage that is being done, how  do licensees operationally get at that wood where it makes sense.  Identify where  wood is not accessible.
  • while respecting the mid-term timber supply needs,  really recognizing  what is needed across the land base  for the other  values as well.

The Spruce  Beetle is no stranger  to  B.C. , in fact,  Entomologist  Robert Hodgkinson says  throughout North America, “Anywhere white spruce grows,  you will find the spruce beetle”

He says there are  some factors which make a beetle population turn into  an epidemic.

  • favourable habitat (blowdown) and  favourable  weather   with no early or late cold snaps  allow the beetle population to build.
  • over mature forest, or a forest that’s under stress provide the  susceptible hosts

Hodgkinson says  the spruce beetle has a two year life cycle and like the Mountain Pine Beetle can produce it’s own form of “anti-freeze” to  make it through  the winter.  Only cold snaps of  minus 32 or colder, which come on before the beetle has a chance to produce  the ‘anti-freeze’  will kill it.   Woodpeckers are also helpful in  reducing the beetle population,  eating 2200 larvae a day, but because they are territorial,  they  prevent other woodpeckers from assisting in the  job  so  they are not  capable of  wiping  out the  spruce beetle  population.

On the eve of the conference,  the Ministry of Forests released data which shows the  infestation is larger than  had been thought in the Prince George and Mackenzie forest districts.  The latest  information  pegs the infestation  at  about 210 thousand hectares,  with 137 thousand hectares  located in the Prince George Forest District.   That is a significant increase over the  estimates from 2015  which   noted 156 thousand hectares in the entire Omineca region were  infected.

Chief Forester Nicholls says  this infestation, on the heels of the Mountain Pine Beetle,  has changed  the landscape “Knowing that mountain pine  beetle has come through and we have done extensive  harvesting to salvage that  pine beetle wood,   we’re in a different landscape  now, and we need to think about what we need for balance  across that landscape, what makes sense for all the needs.  I think that’s our trick here today,  so we all  get a good understanding of the life cycle of the beast we are looking at   what the historical information tells us,  what the new population  information tells us from our recent surveys, and what do we  do  proactively, collaboratively, together to make sure we are making the best decisions  for this time and the future for this area of the province.”

While  today’s  session  is the  first of a two day summit on the  Spruce Beetle,  Nicholls says   the summit will not be the last of the meetings on this subject “I suspect that as we learn more about this outbreak  we will know and want to change things  and alter courses, when and where it’s needed.”






Perhaps all the greenies could pile into their Volvos with their cross country skis and head into the forest to hand pick the beetles off the trees since they are the ones opposed to spraying.

    Spraying would just be delaying the inevitable.

“Only cold snaps of minus 32 or colder, which come on before the beetle has a chance to produce the ‘anti-freeze’ will kill it.” Haven’t had one of those winters in many years.

More evidence that Global Warming is directly contributing to the demise of what used to be the bread and butter industry in our province, but we must not get in the way of Alberta piping and shipping their planet killing oil through our dead tree province to tidewater.

Hey everyone, I have an idea; let support the industry that is not only causing our trees to die, lets make sure they can pump more of their carbon spewing product out of the ground and have it shipped to China where BILLIONS of people can burn it in their vehicles and thus pump more carbon killing gas into our atmosphere. Brilliant idea hey?

    I see you are ignoring climate history. Nothing new happening now that has not happened in the past. Myself I am enjoying the temporary milder winters we have been receiving. But looking at climatic history that seems about to change over the next few years.

    While you are at it, how about you do something about those nasty volcanic eruptions, you know, the one’s that burb and fart out MASSIVE amounts of CO2 and other gases!!

    By the way, use of the term “Global Warming” is passe’! Get with the program, the correct or more politically correct term is now “Climate Change”!

    Not really evidence of “global warming”, sorry. It does not mean we don’t get to -32 just means we haven’t got down to that temperature before the beetle produces its own ‘antifreeze’ in the last few years like the 80s. There are always populations of beetles, the MOF has an annual map of their rise and fall

    If we don’t sell them our “oil” they will get it from countries that care less about the environment than we do – even the dippers in Alberta can see that, just the greenies can’t for some reason…

    You see the Paris agreement allows China’s contribution to the global GHGs increase (increase more than our “total” annual GHG contribution I might add) because they are considered an “emerging market” – although how they got that designation is hard to say seeing as they were already a global trader in Marco Polo’s day. We have to kill our economy so theirs can expand, makes total sense

Yes, the typical response we get on here, meanwhile our trees and lumber industry is being wiped out by an epidemic of pests that can easily survive our climate change induced warmer winters.

After the pests get through with our trees, and valuable timber, lets look on while climate change induced mega wildfires finish off the rest of what is left of our timber. Never again will the lumber industry be the economic backbone of our province until we do something to stop and reverse global warming. We did it with acid rain in the 1980s, we can do it again for climate changes as well.

We just need to follow the rest of the world as it converts over to the use of alternative cleaner energy sources. Cue the fossil fuel shills…

    I would be interested to hear your definition of climate change?

    So are you saying forest practices have no part in spruce or pine beetles and the unnatural suppression of forest fires?

    Acid rain, well did you know all rain is acid.

    Coal power is rising dramatically all over the world so fossil fuels not going anywhere soon.

    Why is ice increasing in the Antarctic and on a global scale?
    Why does the IPCC say its models are probably over estimating warming?
    Why hasn’t the temperature changed over the last 15 years?
    Why has sea level rise slowed down?
    Why are the Maldives building new airports and luxury hotels on the land that they insist is going to be swamped by the oceans? And how do they con the investors in those projects to invest if it is?
    Wasn’t the arctic supposed to be ice free by now?
    I thought our children weren’t going to know what snow was?
    etc, etc, etc

    Spruce beetles were around in epidemic proportions in the 80s as well, maybe you can somehow link their demise at that time to what we “did with acid rain”? Cue the greenies, dippers can just twiddle their thumbs and wait for the next story…

“the ones opposed to spraying…”
Actually, spraying doesn’t work on bark beetles. Wasn’t even worth trying on the pine version, just as useless for the spruce version, and also the fir version. Not worth blaming the “greenies”, the beetles life cycle makes them virtually unreachable by pesticides, so insecticides aren’t even on the list of possibilities. Quite aside from the various effects of insecticides on other living things.

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