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EnvironmentForests15TuesdayApril92013AnnualGeneralMeetingThursdayApril18that700p.m.DownstairsattheLegionTheFortSmithGolfClubAnnualGeneralMeetingThursdayApril18that700p.m.DownstairsattheLegionTheFortSmithGolfClubAnnualGeneralMeetingLivepinebeetlelarvaefoundinNWTPestthathasdevastatedBCstimbersurvivesNorthernwinterByRENEFRANCOEURLarvaeofthedevastatingmountainpinebeetlethathasdestroyedBCforestsforthepasttwodecadessurvivedthewinterinahandfuloftreesintheNorthwestTerritoriesjustnorthoftheareawheretheNWTAlbertaandBCbordersmeet.EnvironmentandNaturalResourcesENRdepartmentstaffdiscoveredthebeetleinasmallclusterofNWTjackpinetreeslastSeptemberter-ritorialforestecologistMikeGraveltoldTheJournal.TherewasdoubtthepestwouldsurvivetheharshNorthernwinterGravelnotedbutthebeetleblackandtypicallyassmallasagrainofricehasntgivenupontheNWTyet.TherewasaverysmallnumberoftreesaffectedlastfalllessthanadozenIdsayintheareaaroundtheKakisaRiverthatrunsoutofAl-bertanorthofthejunctionofallthreebordersGravelsaid.Albertafoundthemmountainpinebeetlesin2011andweresurprisedathowfarnorththespecieshadgotsolastyearwewantedtomonitorourforestsandcheckthingsout.Itisnotaninfestationbyanymeanshenoted.ThereareaboutthreetofoursiteswithafewaffectedtreesineachsiteGravelsaid.ThemostwefoundononetreewasIbelievearound60andnowforusthatmaysoundlikealotbutwhenwetalktopeoplefromBCtheytellustonotevenworryaboutthatbecauseitssolowcom-paredtowhattheyreseeingontheirtrees.Thatbeingsaidthede-partmentiskeepingacloseeyeonthebeetleespeciallyaftertheAlbertagovern-ments2011-2012mountainpinebeetlemortalitysurveydemonstratedhighratesofbeetlesurvivalinthePeaceRiverregion.ThereportalsohighlightedalargernumberofinfestedtreesjustsouthofGrandePrairieposingahighriskofbeetlespreadandstatedtheprobabilityofadditionalspreaddeeperintonorthwestAlbertafromnearbyinfestedareasinBCremainsmoderatetohigh.Accordingtoarecentdoc-umentaryTheBeetlesareComingthebeetlenativetoBCisexpectedtomarcheastacrossthecountryoverthenext20yearswreakinghavoconpinesasfarawayastheMaritimes.Oneofourobjectiveswastoseeifthebeetlehadsur-vivedthewinterasourcoldweatherisoneofthereasonsinsectslikethathavebeenkeptoutoftheNorthandsowiththerecentwarmingtheyvemanagedtocomethisfarnorthbutwedontknowiftheywillbeabletoestablishthemselveslong-termGravelsaid.OnMar.20ENRforestryofcersreturnedtotheaf-fectedareatotakepucksam-plessmalldiscsoutofthetreesthatincludethebarkandinnerringswherethebeetlelarvaelive.ThepuckswerethenslowlywarmedtoroomtemperatureataCanadianForestServicelaboratoryinBC.Anylivinglarvaeonthepuckswillstarttoreactivateandmetabolize.Therewereafewlarvae-notverymany-thatdidshowsignsoflifesonowweknowthatthebeetlescansurviveinourNorthernclimateatleastinthesouthernpartoftheNWTandatleastforthisoneseasonGravelsaid.ThebattleisntanywherenearoverhoweverGravelnoted.Therearestillpossibili-ties.Itwas-20CinFortSmithrecentlysoacoldspringsnapcouldkillthebeetles.Oncetheystartwarmingupinthespringandtheyremetabo-lizingtheyrelosingsomeoftheirinternalanti-freezeifyouwillsoeventhoughtherewerelivelarvaeafewweeksagoacoldspringcouldinictmoredamageonthemtakingcareofthemcompletelyhesaid.Wewillcontinuetomonitorthebeetlesandwillbehead-ingbacktothesiteinafewmonths.ENRstartingfullpestriskanalysisThenumberoneconcernforENRnowthatthebeetlehasmadeitswayNorthof60andsurvivedthewinterisensuringtheoverallhealthofNWTfor-estsandwildlifeGravelsaid.Thedepartmentiscur-rentlybeginningafullpestriskanalysisexpectedtolastthroughoutthesummertodeterminethescopeofthesituationandwhatcourseofactiontotakeshouldbeetlenumbersescalate.TalkshavestartedwithexpertsinBCwhereanes-timated710millioncubicmetresoflodgepolepinetimberhasbeenaffectedbythebugsincetheoutbreakintheearly1990s.TheywerejustrecentlydiscoveredhereandtheyrenotinanygreatnumberthattheyaregoingtotakeoverourforestoranythinglikethatGravelsaid.Wehavetimetoworkwithspe-cialistsinsouthernCanadawhohavemoreexperiencethanusdealingwiththesebeetlesandstartcollectingmoredata.ForexampleENRdoesnothaveacompleteandaccurateforestinventoryintheaffectedareaasitsoffthebeatentracknotclosetoanyareasofharvestorcommunitiesGravelsaid.ItisalsonotknownhowmanypinetreesareintheNWTintotal.Thiswillbeoneofthefirstthingsdoneaspartoftheanaly-sisGravelsaid.Ifthepinetreesaresmallyoungandsparsethereisre-allylittleriskofthembeingimpactedbutifwehaveareaswheretherearelargematureover-maturepinetreesthoseareoneswewanttofocuson.Aerialsurveysofotherareasthatcouldbeatriskhavealreadybegun.ByfallGravelexpectstohaveamoreclearideaofthebeetleproblemandwhatcontrolmechanismsuchascuttingorburningENRwillusetomanagethepest.Thosebeetlesmayhavejustowninthispastsum-merunderextremewarmconditionswithwindsfromBCandAlbertaandjusthap-penedtolandthere.Maybenextsummertheyllnolon-gerbethere.Wereatthebe-ginningstageofalltheseandtryingtodetermineifthisisjustanisolatedincident.PhotoNaturalResourcesCanadaKillingpinethebeetlewayThebeetleabout4to7.5mminlengthisonlyharm-fultopinetreesandattacksbylayingitseggsunderthebark.Hatchedlarvaeinl-tratethephloemareabe-neaththebarkeventuallychokingoffthetreesnutri-entsupply.Thebeetlesalsocarryabluestainfungiwhichfurtherdehydratesthetree.NWTsaffectedareasarecurrentlyinthegreenattackphaseGravelsaidwhichmeansyoucannottellbylookingatthemthattheyhavebecomeinfested.BytheendofsummertheywillslowlystarttoturnredwhichmeanstheyhavebeenhostingthepestforaboutayearGravelsaid.Afteracoupleyearsalltheneedlesfalloffthetreeandbranchesalsobegintodropoffhesaid.Infestedwoodisstilluse-ableforrewoodandqual-ityproducts.PhotocourtesyofMikeGravelThemountainpinebeetleisdarkcolouredandroughlythesizeofagrainofriceabout4to7.5mminlength.AnadultbeetlepreparestolayitseggsunderthebarkasitminesitswayfurtherupaNWTpinetree.