Forest Products Industry Applauds Federal Government Action on Mountain Pine Beetle



    OTTAWA, March 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The Forest Products Association of Canada
(FPAC) today commended the Government of Canada on the announcement of
measures to combat the spread of mountain pine beetle as it tracks eastward
across Canada. The $25 million fund will assist in activities related to
salvaging of infested trees, removal of pine forests suitable for beetle
infestation and breeding and the completion of geographic maps to better
target the beetle spread threat.
    "Perhaps more than any other industrial sector, the future of Canada's
forest products industry is extraordinarily dependent on the continued
well-being of Canada's ecosystems. Addressing the damage done and developing
strategies to prevent further infestation are necessary to ensure that
Canada's forests remain healthy," said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC.
"And while today's announcement is important for the industry, it is also
important for the communities that lie in the pine beetle's eastward path."
    The current mountain pine beetle epidemic has destroyed a forest area in
B.C. the size of New Brunswick and has crossed the Rockies into Alberta,
severely impacting the industry and the communities it supports. The epidemic
which now threatens to spread across the country is directly attributable to
the mild winter temperatures which have allowed the beetle population to
survive winter. Clearly, the economic health of the industry depends entirely
on the health of the forests and a changed climate presents challenges in
forest health issues such as the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
    "The devastating consequences of the pine beetle epidemic serve as
excellent examples of just how vulnerable Canada's environment and economy are
to a changed climate," continued Lazar. "For this reason, as governments focus
on implementing climate change mitigation measures, it is also important for
them to undertake strategies that give adaptation measures greater prominence.
We are already living in a changed climate and must not only focus on how to
reduce Canada's impact on the climate but also put far more emphasis on how
Canada can adapt to the impact of a changing climate on us."

    FPAC is the voice of Canada's wood, pulp and paper producers nationally
and internationally in government, trade and environmental affairs. Canada's
forest industry represents 3% of Canada's GDP and exports over $40 billion of
wood, pulp and paper annually. The industry is one of Canada's largest
employers, operating in hundreds of Canadian communities and providing nearly
900,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.




For further information:

For further information: Isabelle Des Chênes, Director, Communications,
Forest Products Association of Canada, (613) 563-1441 ext: 323,
ideschenes@fpac.ca


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