Beetle-Killed Trees Have Environmental and Timber Value

VICTORIA – Stands of trees killed by the mountain pine beetle still provide environmental benefits and potential timber value if left standing, according to a Forest Practices Board special report released today.

The report examined pine stands affected by the 1979 mountain pine beetle attack in the southern Quesnel forest district. Trees left standing or regrown since that outbreak have developed unique structural features that now provide valuable wildlife habitat, 26 years after the original beetle attack. The board found that those trees that survived the pine beetle attack grew faster than prior to the attack, and may represent a source of mid-term timber supply.

“As B.C. grapples with the current mountain pine beetle epidemic, our work suggests the economic rationale for rapid salvage logging should be balanced with the benefits of retention of infested trees to enhance forest diversity and protect environmental values,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “This is consistent with the recent advice of the Chief Forester for designating larger areas for retention in beetle-infested pine stands.”

It should be noted the area studied is in a cool, dry climate zone in the Interior of the province. The Ministry of Forests and Range is conducting further studies to determine if the results are valid for the moister climate zones, which are the focus of the current mountain pine beetle epidemic.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board:

  • audits forest and range practices on public lands;
  • audits appropriateness of government enforcement;
  • investigates public complaints;
  • undertakes special investigations of current forestry issues;
  • participates in administrative appeals; and
  • makes recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.


Erik Kaye

Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250-356-1586 or 1-800-994-5899