Gros Morne National Park veto spruce budworm control program
Parks Canada has decided that Gros Morne National Park will not join an early intervention spray program to control spruce budworm.
“The spruce budworm is a native forest insect, and episodic epidemics are a natural ecosystem process that leads to forest diversification and renewal, but can also affect the forest industry and domestic loggers.” , the park said in a written statement.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador had asked Gros Morne to join an Early Intervention Strategy (EIS) control program in the western part of the province. He wanted to pulverize about 22% of Gros Morne – 400 of its 1,805 square kilometers (154 of 700 square miles).
Parks Canada has reviewed the policies and “best available evidence” and considered feedback from a public consultation process. He determined that intervening “could have an impact on the ecological integrity of its forest ecosystem” and said that “scientific review has also revealed that there is limited evidence to suggest that the inclusion of Gros Morne in the program would be necessary for the success of the EIA outside the park ”.
The (eastern) spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) is a nocturnal butterfly native to North America that feeds primarily on balsam fir and white spruce, and occasionally red and black spruce. It devours needles and sometimes flowers and staminate (male) cones, killing trees within five years. The spruce budworm usually exists in reasonable numbers, but epidemic cycles occur every 30 to 40 years. They were first spotted on the island of Newfoundland in 1942 and the last outbreak in the 1970s caused a loss of trees equivalent to 25 years of supplying timber to the forest industry. The current Canadian epidemic began on the north shore of the St.Lawrence River in Quebec in 2006 and damaged more than 9.6 million hectares (nearly 24 million acres) of forest while spreading towards the ‘is.
Parks Canada will continue to work with partners in supporting EIA research and monitoring, which can contribute to scientific understanding of the strategy’s effectiveness and its effects on forest ecosystem health.
The EIA is a research program carried out by the Healthy Forest Partnership that includes the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada, the four Atlantic provinces, academia and the forestry sector. EIA is a new management approach that involves addressing spruce budworm ‘hot spots’ (smaller areas where populations are still low, but increasing) to hopefully prevent outbreaks. epidemics, with minimal or no defoliation of forests. The strategy uses aerial spraying of the pesticide Btk to keep budworm populations below levels where they can be controlled by natural mortality.
The program was launched in western Newfoundland in 2020 in areas outside of the national park and will continue in 2021.
Founded in 1973, Gros Morne is renowned for its unique and varied geography and spectacular topography shaped by the ice ages over the past two million years. It has diverse coastlines, serpentine moors in an area called the Tablelands, an arctic-alpine environment, vast wetlands, and a boreal forest. It protects two natural regions: the western highlands of Newfoundland and the eastern part of the St. Lawrence Lowlands.
UNESCO gave Gros Morne World Heritage Site status in 1987 because of its “outstanding natural beauty” and “outstanding examples of major milestones in the earth’s geological evolution”.