Beetle Summit Wraps Up

Prince George, BC, Canada / CKPG-TV
Beetle Summit Wraps Up

“It’s now well into a new outbreak. We’ve had outbreaks before in the Mackenzie District and Prince George. So this is a re-occurence of another beetle outbreak that’s well on its way to becoming serious.”
That’s how forest entomologist Robert Hodgkinson describes the spruce beetle infestation in the Mackenzie District. The infestation has grown since the area was last surveyed a year ago, up to 210,000 hectares. He has been brought back out of retirement to oversee the management of this newest outbreak. He’s familiar with bark beetle infestations, having been a party to the spruce beetle infestation in the Bowron River Valley in the late 70’s and early 80’s. That’s when hundreds of square kilometres of forest was clear cut, known as the “Bowron Cut.” At that time, the rules were much different than they are today.
“So now we have restraints for wildlife tree patches, reserves along riparian zones, biodiversity areas, visual quality objectives, sensitive watersheds where we can’t go in and do large-scale clear cutting. So there are a lot more constraints to doing what we call sanitation harvesting,” he says.
The other challenge and the first that will have to be addressed is access to the sites in question. But he says if they get a sound plan in place, and a bit of help from Mother Nature, they should be able to get a firm handle on the situation.

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