In 2013, the Mountain Pine Beetle Forest Rehabilitation Program (MPBFRP) was introduced in response to the mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation in Alberta. Large-scale damage to forests from MPB is a relatively new phenomenon in Alberta. How to rehabilitate these forests poses new challenges.
The MPBFRP aims to maintain and enhance Alberta’s forest ecosystems by providing funding for the rehabilitation of pine-dominated forests that have been negatively impacted by mountain pine beetle and are not expected to recover on their own in a reasonable time period.
Healthy forests are important for a range of ecosystem goods and services, including sustainability of forestry-dependent communities. The MPBFRP is designed to restore forests and forest ecosystems impacted by MPB to a more productive state – for water quality, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration and timber production. Project activities can include planting, seeding, stand tending and applied research. Not much is known about the long-term impacts of MPB in Alberta so it is important to learn and understand the complexities and unique characteristics of the problem and develop management strategies to mitigate them.
It is too early to determine the success of this program but projects completed to date and currently underway demonstrate Alberta’s commitment to addressing the MPB problem.