Daniel Lux provides the Alberta status report on the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) spread through north western Alberta towards the jackpine forest in the Lesser Slave Lake area. He describes Alberta's operational control program and what is done starting with spring assessments of beetle over-wintering success. Lesser Slave Lake is the critical zone in stopping the spread east to Canada's boreal jack pine forests. Mountain Pine Beetle hotspots in Alberta continue to be primarily north of Grande Prairie. Individual beetles have been trapped within 40-50 km of the Saskatchewan border and beetles have also been found in the North West Territories just across the Alberta border.
Ten years ago, spread north would have been judged unlikely because of cold winters. The beetles are spreading year by year east and north. Alberta also maps attacked trees; Alberta mapped 1. 5 million attacked (red) trees in 2012 and year by year data helps map where MPB infestations are growing. 96,000 high risk trees were controlled in 2012. Slave Lake and Whitecourt had more trees controlled in 2012 than 2011 whereas in the southern foothills, Alberta is having trouble finding MPB. Without inflights from British Columbia, MPB infected trees in Alberta drop year by year. This trend plus the level of cooperation among provinces, industry and the federal government are positive.
Daniel Lux is Senior Manager of Forest Health in Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. His presentation was part of the Foothills Research Institute's Mountain Pine Beetle Research-Practitioner Information Exchange Forum, April 24-25, 2013 at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.