The Devastating Spread of the Mountain Pine Beetle

Environmental Energetics

When the mountain pine beetle began blazing a path across forests in British Columbia and Alberta, nobody could have imagined the extent of the damage to come. But as the insect devastated pine forests and disrupted communities, forest industries, recreational use, watersheds, and plant and wildlife habitats, the problem became disturbingly clear. Now, as the beetle creeps into the boreal forests of the Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan, with a real concern it may reach as far east as the Maritime provinces, researchers at the University of Alberta have responded to calls from government, industry, non-profit organizations and the general public to help conserve and protect an invaluable national resource at the heart of Canadian identity.

Anatomy of an invasion

Mountain pine beetles are tiny, about the size of a grain of rice. The hard-shelled insects spread by flying, aided by wind currents. At its core, their ability to destroy trees…

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