WHEREAS infestation by the Mountain Pine Beetle lead to destruction of hundreds of millions of cubic metres of timber in the Province of British Columbia where further devastation continues, and WHEREAS the Mountain Pine Beetle is advancing eastward at a rate far in excess of that predicted or anticipated by the Province, and WHEREAS damage prevention and mitigation measures employed by the Province so far, in large part, consist of the mass destruction of mature infested forest trees by helicopter logging, piling and subsequent burning , and WHEREAS the Province’s response to date is lacking when compared to resources allocated for damage prevention and mitigation by the BC and Federal Government thus far; such resources including those for recouping highest value for affected timber, and WHEREAS the Provincial Government is managing the entire Green Zone but has left the White Zone for municipalities to manage, and WHEREAS municipalities in the White Zone have less resources to handle the situation than the Province, and WHEREAS only the Provincial and Federal Government can rapidly mobilize financial and human resources at levels sufficient for mounting a salvage operation of the size, scale and scope required to recover value from affected timber;
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.
Pending Natural Disaster – The Eventual Epidemic Infestation of Pine Trees on Public and Private Lands in AlbertaAcknowledging they stand to lose over 80 per cent of their mature Lodgepole pine forest from infestation by the Mountain Pine Beetle, the British Columbia Government developed a Mountain Pine Beetle Action Plan for 2006-2011. Their plan recognizes a strategic response to the epidemic is needed; one invoking a Canada-BC emergency response. It’s an action plan that has participation by the Federal government to the tune of $100.0 million The BC Mountain Pine Beetle Action Plan for 2006-2011 recognizes a number of socio-economic and environmental objectives extending well beyond the scope of infested trees in any ‘Green Zone’; targeting substantial funds now and in the future for specific initiatives to: 1. Ensure economic sustainability for affected communities2. Protect worker and public safety3. Recover value4. Conserve long-term forest values5. Limit further damage6. Restore forest resources7. Coordinate planning and mitigation measuresIn 2005, British Columbia and Alberta did sign a five-year Memorandum of Understanding for a Spread Control Program in the Rocky Mountain, Columbia, Headwaters and Peace forest districts of the BC/Alberta border region. The program involves air and ground forest surveys to identify infested pine trees. Trees found to be infested are to be cut down and burned. The BC government has contributed $13.7 million to the Spread Control Program. By comparison, specific to the 2005 MOU, the Alberta government contribution was $3.7 million. Of this $3.7 million, close to half ($1.7 million) came from the Alberta forest industry.$13.7 million toward the Spread Control Program is but a part of a total of $100.0 million the BC government invested last year and again this year into implementing their Mountain Pine Beetle Action Plan. These funds are in addition to a $100.0 million federal contribution to the Canada-BC emergency response.Looking next door at British Columbia, it’s the sheer magnitude of that natural disaster that demands higher levels of government take full responsibility for the same looming epidemic here. The Alberta and Federal Governments solely, without municipal involvement, need take full and immediate action to mitigate damage, and speed recovery in both the Green and White Zones of Alberta.
Resolution 2-05F regarding the Mountain Pine Beetle Program urges the Government of Alberta to classify the Mountain Pine Beetle as a pest and that the government institutes a program for its control.The government responds that the province is in the process of refining a funding mechanism to assist municipalities in addressing the costs of managing Mountain Pine Beetle issues on lands under their jurisdiction. The 2006 budget provides $8 million for a Mountain Pine Beetle program, but it is unclear on how the funds will be allocated.
In the 2006 provincial budget, $8 million in funding for Mountain Pine Beetle was announced. In January 2007, the AAMDC attended a meeting with the Ministers Advisory Committee on Rural Development to provide input on recommendations for improving the sustainability of forestry dependent communities impacted by the mountain pine beetle. In May 2008, the Government of Alberta allocated $55.2 million dollars to fight the mountain pine beetle, and in September 2008, the provincial government announced a multi-partner research project to adjust the newsprint process to use wood killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle. The AAMDC sent representation to the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry in May 2009. This representation discussed Mountain Pine Beetle as one facet of the crisis in Alberta’s forestry sector, affecting many rural communities. The Association will continue to work with SRD to ensure that monitoring, prevention, and funding continue. In addition, the AAMDC will continue to advocate through ministerial meetings for the provincial government to take full responsibility for the infestation. DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: The AAMDC has been invited to appear before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry in Ottawa on May 12, 2009. This committee is undertaking a study on the Canadian Forest Sector. Of the topics presented to the Canadian Senate, Mr. Gerald Rhodes and Mr. Tom Burton of the AAMDC advocated for increased government financial/program support against Mountain Pine Beetle issues in Alberta.