Spruce Beetle Outbreak in B.C.’s Prince George District is Hitting Local Forests Hard

In the Prince George District of B.C., the spruce beetle continues to wreak its havoc on the local forests. The spruce beetle is native to B.C. forest and prefers to attack dead old growth trees that are lying on the ground. However the population at this time is so great they are attacking live standing trees as well.  Over the past six years the spread has been massive. Since 2014, approximately 1.3 million hectares of B.C. forestland has been impacted by spruce beetle. Making this the biggest outbreak of spruce beetle infestation since the 1980’s. John Pousette, is the director for the Provincial Bark Beetle Response and was appointed to coordinate response efforts across the province. Pousette points out that “There’s a significant number of live trees in the understory of a spruce stand. We want to make sure we’re prioritizing the stands with the most dead trees and not necessarily taking stands that will rebound and recover.” Gone are the days when clear cutting is the only answer to mitigate a beetle infestation, like what was used years ago to target the pine beetle. As far as controlling the spruce beetle infestation, the government is relying on harvesting while taking extra care to keep the unaffected portion of the forest intact.


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