The Federal and Alberta governments have recently invested $25M to slow down that pesky Pine-beetle from continuing to cause widespread damage to the forestry industry.
The wave of bugs is headed east after destroying about half of B.C.’s marketable pine timber. The bugs reached deep into Alberta this summer and have stretched northward to within a one-hour drive west of Edmonton.
The $25M comes from a worry that the Pine beetle could devastate Alberta forests and the small communities that depend on forestry for survival and are already suffering from the economic bust.
The areas where the Pine beetle has had the most affect, is around the communities of Grande Cache, Whitecourt, Edson, Swan Hills and Slave Lake.
A decade ago, the same threat faced British Columbia. They chose not to act and now kids who are ten-years-old in B.C., won’t see a matured Timber Pine until they’re 50-years-old.
The government doesn’t want the same thing to happen in Alberta.
Alberta’s $9-Billion forestry industry provides jobs for 38,000 people, including many small communities where the local mill is the major employer, along with providing much of the municipal tax base.
Experts are estimating that 6 million hectares of pine forest is at risk of a pine-beetle attack.
The mountain pine beetle burrows into the bark of pine trees, spreading a fungus that turns the needles red and kills the trees.
Alberta has spent more than $200M to battle the Pine tree beetle since 2006.
The $25M will be used to hire crews that will harvest the infected trees.
The worst thought for the government and environmentalists is that the bugs could spread into the Jack Pine in the Boreal Forest that runs across the country.