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Forestry officials in Alberta are continuing the fight against the mountain pine beetle. From what started with 25 dead trees near Canmore, the total now tops 4.2 million killed, with millions more at risk.
Over the last decade the province spent nearly $300 million on managing the beetle and stopping its spread. If not managed properly, the beetle invasion will eventually damage watersheds, fisheries, and wildlife habitat.
The adaptable insects are difficult to kill with chemicals and they now greatly outnumber any natural predators. Lodgepole pine trees in B.C. are developing natural defenses to the insect, but this has not happened in Alberta yet. Presently officials are removing strands of infested trees to contain areas and cut off the beetle’s food source.