Canada’s forestry industry, which directly employs more than 360,000 people and is worth billions of dollars to the national economy, is particularly susceptible to the changing climate. A longer fire season, drier conditions and more lightning storms are leading to an increase in the severity and frequency of forest fires. Warmer winters and hot, dry summers mean more insect outbreaks.
In British Columbia, the mountain pine beetle is decimating huge tracts of lodgepole pine forest. Since the late 1990s, it has ravaged 12 to 13 million hectares in central and northern B.C., an area nearly twice the size of New Brunswick. More beetle larvae are surviving thanks to warmer winters in recent years. The B.C. government estimates that by 2013, the beetle will have killed 80 percent of the province’s mature lodgepole pine. This has prompted many communities in the Interior to start working on plans to diversify their economies. The mountain pine beetle has crossed over into Alberta, where it is attacking Jack pine, and is poised to spread throughout Canada’s entire boreal forest.
The animation is a slide show, "Pine Beetle", with two images. One is a map of North America, initially focusing on B.C., showing areas with different pine species affected by the pine beetle. The other image is a colour-coded map of B.C. and the Pacific Northwest; it uses varying colour intensity to show the extent of the damage done by the pine beetle.