New Pine Beetle Outbreak in Alberta, Canada is Worst-Case Scenario

By November 16, 2009 February 24th, 2013 Forest Mortality

It was hoped that the last several years of wet and cold in the Rockies would put a damper on the great pine beetle infestation ongoing. In 2008, the infestation increased 18 million acres.  The last record breaking pine beetle infestation in North America was three million acres in ten years. This event ended about the turn of the century in Alaska.

In-fact, northern Alberta did experience a significant die-off of pine beetle last winter says a report by the Canadian Forest service. This was the only place in North America to see a die-off of any extent because of the cold.  But this summer, northern Alberta saw a mass inflight of beetles from British Columbia that rivaled or was even larger than the flight in 2003 that started this infestation. At the timer, there was a quote from a Ranger then that said the beetles "fell like rain".

Northern Alberta is on the edge of the great boreal forest. The beetle has never before been seen in northern British Columbia. The forest professionals are now saying that the black and jack pines that dominate the boreal forest are at great risk from beetle attack, and that this is likely the primary pathway that the beetle will choose to infest what the scientists fear may be the rest of the continent.