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Forest Products Industry Applauds Government Action on Mountain Pine Beetle
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 23 March 2007 -- The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) today commended the Government of Canada on the announcement of measures to combat the spread of mountain pine beetle as it tracks eastward across Canada. The CAD 25 million fund will assist in activities related to salvaging of infested trees, removal of pine forests suitable for beetle infestation and breeding and the completion of geographic maps to better target the beetle spread threat.

"Perhaps more than any other industrial sector, the future of Canada's forest products industry is extraordinarily dependent on the continued well-being of Canada's ecosystems. Addressing the damage done and developing strategies to prevent further infestation are necessary to ensure that Canada's forests remain healthy," said Avrim Lazar, president and CEO of FPAC. "And while today's announcement is important for the industry, it is also important for the communities that lie in the pine beetle's eastward path."

The current mountain pine beetle epidemic has destroyed a forest area in British Columbia the size of New Brunswick and has crossed the Rockies into Alberta, severely affecting the industry and the communities it supports. The epidemic, which now threatens to spread across the country, is directly attributable to the mild winter temperatures, which have allowed the beetle population to survive winter. Clearly, the economic health of the industry depends entirely on the health of the forests and a changed climate presents challenges in forest health issues such as the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

"The devastating consequences of the pine beetle epidemic serve as excellent examples of just how vulnerable Canada's environment and economy are to a changed climate," continued Lazar. "For this reason, as governments focus on implementing climate change mitigation measures, it is also important for them to undertake strategies that give adaptation measures greater prominence. We are already living in a changed climate and must not only focus on how to reduce Canada's impact on the climate but also put far more emphasis on how Canada can adapt to the impact of a changing climate on us."

FPAC is the voice of Canada's wood, pulp and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade and environmental affairs. Canada's forest industry represents 3% of Canada's GDP and exports over CAD 40 billion of wood, pulp and paper annually. The industry is one of Canada's largest employers, operating in hundreds of Canadian communities and providing nearly 900,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.


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