Manitoba conservation minister Stan Struthers has reintroduced the Forest Health Protection Act that would put into place improved safeguards to help battle against the impacts of woodland pests.
“The Forest Health Protection Act will enable measures to help protect Manitoba’s forests against pests such as the pine beetle that has devastated forests in British Columbia,” said Struthers.
An increase in trade between provinces and countries has increased the possibilities of invasive and destructive forest pests and diseases entering Manitoba. The new legislation would help reduce the potential impact to the province’s commercial forest resources.
The proposed legislation would enable restrictions on movements of certain wood products. In the event of a localized outbreak, it would also enable faster containment and reaction. The bill also includes key provisions of the Dutch Elm Disease Act which would be incorporated into the new legislation.
The emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorn beetle from eastern Asia are invasive forest pests that have made their way into North America and have the potential to move into Manitoba. The mountain pine beetle is also of concern as it has moved from forests in British Columbia to Alberta and is now found in parts of Saskatchewan and the Western United States.