The Winnipeg Sun


Beetles are coming

The mountain pine beetle infestation that has devastated B.C. forests is likely to be followed by other new pests taking advantage of rising average temperatures, says the president the Forest Products Association of Canada.

Avram Lazar says the B.C. beetle infestation is almost certain to move across the Rockies into the boreal forest. He believes it shows the need for more public focus on adaptation to climate change.

"We're a little obsessed with this because we're paying the price right now," said Lazar. "The mountain pine beetle would've died if we hadn't had the last 12 winters being the warmest 12 winters on record."


He said adaptation to the impact of climate change should be getting much more attention than it is -- a message also contained in a report last week by Environment Commissioner Johanne Gelinas.

"We have to get ready, we have to start thinking about what's the next plague," said Lazar.

"What's the next threat to our ecosystems, what's the next threat to our health? We should be doing very active scenario development."

In her report, Gelinas said the pine beetle outbreak has affected more than 8.7 million hectares of B.C. forest and threatens the livelihood of 30 communities, or 25,000 families.

"We're a most-affected nation," said Lazar. "The more northerly you are the more you are affected by climate change. Right now it's a beetle. Next it will be a fungus, next it will be a parasite."