The spruce budworm poses a big threat to Canadian Forests

By Cheryl Santa Maria
The Weather Network
May 23, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

The spruce budworm is a moth species known for its destructive nature. While native to North America and parts of Europe, it has quickly become a menace in Canada’s coniferous forests, with caterpillars that can swiftly destroy vast areas of trees, leaving the forest vulnerable to pests, diseases, and extreme weather events. As caterpillars, the budworm feasts on balsam fir and spruce, sparing no needle and eventually killing the tree. Budworm epidemics occur every 30 to 35 years, with each epidemic lasting 15 to 20 years in the same sector. This leaves the trees no time to recover, and deforestation begins to occur after about four years. During an extensive outbreak in the 1970s and 1980s, the spruce budworm destroyed more than 50 million hectares in eastern Canada. Quebec is in the midst of an outbreak. More than 9.6 million hectares of forest had suffered defoliation by 2019.

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