March 28, 2005

BC, Alberta sign accord to fight spread of mountain pine beetle

CRANBROOK, BC-Alberta is investing $742,000 in a co-operative effort with British Columbia to fight the spread of mountain pine beetle into Alberta. At a BC-Alberta cabinet meeting in Cranbrook, ministers signed an agreement committing the two provinces to contribute $1.65 million this winter season to cut and burn infested areas on the BC side of the border, in the Peace Forest District. Eighty workers are carrying out the fall-and-burn treatments. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development David Coutts also pointed out the forest industry's contribution. "I'd like to commend Weyerhaeuser Company and Canfor Corporation who are jointly contributing to the solution by providing $250,000 of Alberta's contribution," he said. Alberta is taking this action in response to an increased number of mountain pine beetle-infested trees in BC's Peace Forest District and the absence of any physical barriers separating the area from Alberta. The lack of barriers facilitates passage and migration of the beetle from BC to Alberta. The mountain pine beetle is the province's fastest-moving and most aggressive forest pest. It poses a potential threat to more than two million hectares of Alberta pine forests along the eastern slopes, whose commercial value is estimated at $23 billion. Surveys and fall-and-burn treatment programs are also being carried out in other parts of Alberta.

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