The Government of Saskatchewan recently approved up to $1 million to fight mountain pine beetle in Alberta. The funding supports the third year of a three-year agreement with the Government of Alberta to work together to keep the beetle from spreading into Saskatchewan’s northern forests.
“The mountain pine beetle outbreak in Alberta continues to be the most significant insect and disease threat to our northern pine forests and the northern Saskatchewan economy that depends on them,” Environment Minister Dana Skoropad said. “This funding builds on the long-standing and successful co-operation between our provinces, acting as an investment that ensures our forests stay healthy, while continuing to protect Saskatchewan’s forestry sector.”
The Saskatchewan funding will help ensure that control efforts focus on areas of Alberta that are of most concern for the beetle’s eastern spread. Since the agreement began in 2011, Saskatchewan has invested more than $8.6 million in mountain pine beetle control in Alberta. Recent studies have shown that these joint efforts have been very effective. While beetles have been detected as close as 40 kilometres from the Saskatchewan border, no mountain pine beetles have been found in Saskatchewan’s northern forests to date.
The mountain pine beetle outbreak in Western Canada has killed more than half of the merchantable pine in British Columbia and has spread across Alberta. There is an established beetle population in the lodgepole pine forests in the Cypress Hills that is managed jointly by the ministries of Environment and Parks, Culture and Sport.