Overview

In 2007, Alberta implemented both a long-term and short-term strategy to manage the mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation and protect the health of our forests.

Our goal is to reduce the opportunity for mountain pine beetles to spread further into our pine forests, particularly throughout the watersheds of the eastern slopes and further into the boreal forest.

Through the Pine Strategy, prescribed fire and strategic harvesting, Alberta is encouraging a more natural diversity of tree ages that will be more resilient to threats from destructive insects, disease and wildfire.

Alberta is applying the best science available to manage the spread of MPB infestations while working with the following partners and stakeholders;

  • research scientists
  • forest industry
  • federal, provincial and territorial governments and
  • affected communities and residents

Short-term strategy

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry will undertake appropriate detection activities and population assessments throughout Alberta. In response to the current infestation, the province has focused on the following management strategies:

  • Contain infestations and minimize the spread of mountain pine beetle in all areas along the Eastern Slopes where infestations have been detected.
  • Prevent mountain pine beetle spread eastward further into the boreal forest through the hybrid lodgepole-jack pine and pure jack pine stands that stretch across the prairies and into central Canada.

To meet these objectives, the province has been divided into 3 management zones:

Leading Edge Zone

This zone is the 'front line' of beetle infestations where government will aim its main control efforts. This area is not a 'line' at all, but rather a large area consisting of beetle populations threatening to spread along the Eastern Slopes and eastward further into the boreal forest.

  • Level 1 treatments (single-tree treatments) will be used in these zones, recognizing that this tactic is among the most effective means of managing the beetle.
  • Level 2 treatments (block or patch harvesting of infestations) will also be used where needed.

Active Holding Zone

This zone has a significantly higher level of infestation spread over the landscape.

The objective in this zone is to reduce or hold population growth from year to year with an emphasis on Level 2 treatment, supplemented with Level 1 treatment where appropriate.

Inactive Holding Zone

This zone is where infestation levels have grown to a point where population management through Level 1 or 2 treatments will no longer be effective.

The main goal is to manage for other forest management objectives such as:

  • fish and wildlife habitat
  • timber
  • watershed protection
  • wildfire fuel management

To view a map of these zones, see:

Long-term strategy

Alberta's pine forests are made up of an abundance of over-mature trees susceptible to insect attacks and catastrophic wildfires. About 60% of Alberta's pine forests consist of trees aged 80 years and older.

Alberta created the Pine Strategy to address the amount of timber susceptible to mountain pine beetle and create a broad cross-section of different tree-age classes in the forest that will be more resilient to threats from destructive insects, disease and wildfire.

Under this strategy, Alberta has identified the most susceptible stands and worked with Forest Management Agreement (FMA) holders to amend their current management plans to reduce the amount of susceptible pine, on their operating land-base, by up to 75% by 2026.

Contact

Email: for-info@gov.ab.ca