Forest health aerial survey maps
Forest health conditions are dynamic. Therefore, forested areas in Alberta are monitored annually for insect, disease, and weather-related disturbances. Since 1998, the province has carried out annual aerial overview surveys (AOS). These surveys record the location and severity of disturbances caused by forest health damage agents (FHDA) on forested lands. AOS are foundational to forest health monitoring in Alberta. They are a very cost-effective method for detecting and monitoring disturbances to Alberta’s forested areas, providing valuable information on forest pest conditions.
Traditionally, AOS mapping included only large-scale, FHDA-caused disturbances (for example, defoliators and bark beetles). However, with a changing climate and more extreme weather events, more attention is being paid to mapping other potential issues. These could include introductions of new FHDA and/or range expansions of current ones within Alberta; and more frequent abiotic damage such as hail, large wind events, and drought. Climate change can also affect the frequency and severity of abiotic damaging agents, such as hail or large wind events. Information from aerial overview surveys helps understand the impacts of forest pests and other disturbances, and to predict how climate change might affect forest disturbances in the future.
Here are maps and data pertaining to AOS in Alberta:
- Aspen Defoliators Aerial Survey
- Mountain Pine Beetle Aerial Survey
- Spruce Beetle Aerial Survey
- Abiotic and Unknown Damage Agent Aerial Survey
- Other Biotic Damage Agent Aerial Survey
- Spruce Budworm Aerial Survey
Forest health aerial survey map data
Forest Health data now available on the GeoDiscover website
- Aerial Overview Surveys 1998 – 2010 (ZIPPED FILE, 9.4 MB)
- Aerial Overview Surveys 2011 – Current (ZIPPED FILE, 18.4 MB)
- Mountain Pine Beetle Inventory 1975 – 2010 (ZIPPED FILE, 26.8 MB)
- Mountain Pine Beetle Inventory 2011 – Current (ZIPPED FILE, 23 MB)
Forest pest status update – aerial overview surveys 2020 – 2023
Table 1. Highlights (in hectares) from 2020 to 2022 aerial overview surveys.
|Total bark beetles1||7,592||9,806||4,847|
|Aspen defoliator complex||366,052||965,697||134,322|
|Aspen serpentine leafminer||29,275||206,178||215,675|
|Aspen twoleaf tier||157,816||33,768||34,860|
|Forest tent caterpillar||77,518||86||--|
|Large aspen tortrix||96,839||116,613||109,407|
|Diseases and parasites|
|Armillaria and other root diseases||7,107||13,503||6,998|
|Pine needle cast||215,386||95,505||94,716|
|Spruce needle rust||873||4,533||3,297|
|White pine blister rust||9,696||--3||12,607|
|Dieback (multiple agents/unknown)||102,337||75,527||75,752|
|Foliar damage (including scorch)||9,029||2,552||12,854|
|Mortality (multiple agents/unknown)||676,070||614,147||298,875|
|Total damage recorded||2,481,498||2,372,858||1,158,163|
The Alberta government publishes an annual snapshot of programs related to the management of forest health and adaptation in the province's forests.
See: Annual Reports: Forest Health and Adaptation in Alberta (2013–2019)
The annual report includes:
- Details on work to detect, monitor, assess and manage insects, diseases, and other disturbances that damage the health of our forests.
- Overviews of programs in place to address notable forest disturbance in the province, and summaries of research underway to produce well adapted trees.
- Summaries of seed research, seed collection, plant propagation and genetic trials carried out by the Alberta Tree Improvement and Seed Centre (ATISC).
Bugs and Diseases Newsletter
The Bugs and Diseases newsletter informs forest industry, other forestry-related personnel, and the public about current forest health issues. It is a fun and informative look at forest health in Alberta.
The newsletter is published 2 times a year in April and October.
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