A Bug’s Life – Exploring the Mountain Pine Beetle
A Bug’s Life – Exploring the Mountain Pine Beetle was created by Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Forest Service.
More information can be found here.
Mountain pine beetle is endemic to the southern Rocky Mountains and areas west of the Continental Divide; however, it has not historically occurred on the northeastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains (Jasper area). Even though insect outbreaks are natural ecological processes that contribute to forest diversity, historically there were few forest stands susceptible to mountain pine beetle due to frequent fires in the montane ecoregion and the foothills. Past fire suppression practices in Alberta and British Columbia, including the national parks, have resulted in an abundance of old, even-age pine stands that are susceptible to mountain pine beetle attack. Fire suppression, coupled with increasing frequency of mild winter temperatures, has resulted in conditions that favor beetle development, outbreak and expansion. The expansion of mountain pine beetle populations is of concern to Parks Canada and its neighbors (provinces of Alberta and British Columbia and the forest industry). In this lesson, students will explore the life of the mountain pine beetle, its body structure and life cycle, and learn how the beetles are related to forest health.
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