The provincial government is continuing its fight against the mountain pine beetle epidemic with a $9-million infusion to help B.C.’s three beetle action coalitions continue their battle.
The three coalitions have been developing and funding projects to help mitigate the current and anticipated economic, environmental and social impacts of the pine beetle epidemic. Now, the Southern Interior, Omineca and Cariboo-Chilcotin beetle action coalitions will each receive $3 million over three years to continue these efforts.
The mountain pine beetle has already affected an estimated 17.5 million hectares of pine forest, affecting economies and livelihoods all over the province. Since 2001, the Province has invested more than $756 million to battle the beetle, mitigate future impacts and promote regional economic development.
Rhona Martin, chair of the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition, said, “We’ve made a lot of progress on some of the issues associated with the mountain pine beetle epidemic, but we have to remain vigilant. It’s clear the Province recognizes this is a serious issue and I want to thank government for this funding, as it is going to help us continue to provide a coordinated voice for Southern Interior communities on this critical socio-economic and environmental challenge.”
• The life span of an individual mountain pine beetle is about one year.
• The mountain pine beetle epidemic in B.C. ranges Fort St. John to the north, the Alberta border to the east, Smithers to the west and the United States border to the south.
• The Province and the beetle action coalitions have been working to lessen the impact of the mountain pine beetle epidemic on local economies, including projects that promote community forests and value-added wood production, green energy development, log-home and timber-frame sector expansion, and bio-energy sector development and promotion.
• The three coalitions were formed in 2005.
To learn more about the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition, go to: www.sibacs.com.