Managing the Economic Impacts of Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreaks in Alberta
Output from the SELES MPB Landscape Scale Mountain Pine Beetle Model (Fall et al., 2004) was utilized to estimate potential mountain pine beetle spread rates within the Hinton Wood Products Forest Management Area (HFMA) of the Foothills Model Forest. From the SELES model output three spread rate scenarios were hypothesized. Scenario 1 hypothesized a Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) spread rate slower than the rate estimated by the SELES MPB Model. Within Scenario 1, current Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) levels were hypothesized to be adequate to harvest MPB damaged lodgepole pine stands. Scenario 2 hypothesized that spread rates would be consistent with the recommended run from the SELES MPB Model, resulting in attack of the majority of the stands within the HFMA within 29 years. Scenario 3 hypothesized that spread rates would be higher than estimated by the SELES MPB Model, resulting in attack of the majority of lodgepole pine stand in the HFMA in 20 years (Scenario 3.1) or 10 years (Scenario 3.2). The even flow harvest rates required to utilize commercially viable stands attacked by MPB were determined (Surge Period). The modeling program Forest Muncher was utilized to estimate the decrease in AAC which could result from succession / salvage harvest of the majority of lodgepole pine stands within the HFMA within each scenario (Post Surge Period). Based on these AAC estimates, the potential economic impact of MPB attack influenced AAC changes was examined utilizing output from the Computable General Equilibrium Framework (CGE) Model developed by Mike Patriquin and Bill White of the Canadian Forest Service (Patriquin et al., 2005). Scenario 1 had a nearly inappreciable impact on the economic indicators for the forest industry or the total economy in the Foothills Model Forest Area. Within Scenario 2, forest industry revenue, royalties, labour income, and employment were estimated to increase by 40 – 50% during the Surge Period and decrease by 4.7– 6.0% in the Post Surge Period. Within Scenarios 3.1 and 3.2 forestry revenue, royalties, labour income and employment increases ranged from 70 – 90% for Scenario 3.1 and ranged from 160 – 210% for Scenario 3.2 during the Surge Period. Revenue, royalties, labour income and employment in the forest industry were estimated to decrease by 6 – 9% within the Post Surge Periods of Scenarios 3.1 and 3.2. Economic, forest industry capacity, social and environmental factors which may limit the feasibility of large scale salvage of mountain pine beetle damaged stands are discussed within the report.
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