WHEREAS the Mountain Pine Beetle is recognized as having a destructive presence to both pine trees and the forest industry in Alberta; and
WHEREAS reports have indicated that the Mountain Pine Beetle has been spreading throughout Alberta at an alarming rate of the past number of years; and
WHEREAS the Province of Alberta has indicated that local over winter kill rates were very low and that the area northwest of the Peace River is predicted to see an increased infestation of Mountain Pine Beetle; and
WHEREAS the Province has indicated that the attack against Mountain Pine Beetle is focused in southwest Alberta, and on the eastern edge of the infestation with the objective being to minimize the spread of beetles north and south along the Eastern Slopes, and to prevent beetles from spreading east in the boreal forest;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province’s priorities for Mountain Pine Beetle be expanded to areas of new risk and infestation where there has been little control effort to date; and that funding for the Mountain Pine Beetle program be increased to assist with control efforts in these areas.
As stated in a Government of Alberta News Release dated July 14, 2009, recent field surveys show that last winter’s cold temperatures were not severe enough to reduce the threat of additional infestations in many parts of the province. The release goes on to say that the surveys indicate that areas north of Grande Prairie and northwest of Peace River, overwintering beetle populations will cause a high risk of local beetle production. In fact all indications at this point are that we did not have a real problem before, but we now have a bad problem which is going to get worse. As well, this area is one of the Province’s lower priorities for mountain pine beetle control.
This resolution is requesting the provincial government to increase the priority of the North Peace region in the Mountain Pine Beetle program and secondly to ensure that additional funds are made available for this expansion of the control program.
The July 14th news release and 2008/09 MPB program priorities are attached for information.
Resoultion 7-06F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Alberta Sustainable Resource Development and all other appropriate ministries of Provincial and Federal Government take full responsibility and immediate action to mitigate damage, and speed recovery, from devastation caused by the Mountain Pine Beetle on all affected areas, whether in the Green Zone or White Zone, while doing so in a manner consistent with respectful, sustainable forest values.
Sustainable Resource Development:
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development has limited resources to fight the mountain pine beetle and must focus on leading edge zones where there is the greatest potential to limit the spread of infestations. The leading edge zone in the north now extends from Whitecourt to Slave Lake.
Northwest Alberta is no longer in the leading edge zone.
As most of the forest in northwest Alberta contains poorly-connected pine stands, the risk of infestation spread is lower there than elsewhere.
In initially responding to this resolution, the Government of Alberta outlined limited resources and the necessity to focus on leading edge zones. While the association respects the expertise required to determine where funding can be most effective, the Government of Alberta response failed to address the call for increased funding for the program as a whole. At a recent meeting with the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development, the AAMDC brought this issue forward again. The Minister advised that the province currently has 600 people on the ground dealing with the mountain pine beetle, and will remove approximately 180,000 infested and dead trees this winter. The status of this resolution is accepted in principle because there are significant efforts and commitments being made to combat the Mountain Pine Beetle. The AAMDC will continue to stress the importance of a fully funded Mountain Pine Beetle control program at future meetings with the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development.