Tracking the Spruce Budworm

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Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service will be looking for new recruits for a summertime project to track the spread of the spruce budworm insect in the area.

The goal of the collaborative program is to understand the migration of the insect across the landscape and to get citizens thinking about the insects that live in the forest and the role they play in the ecosystem. Spruce budworm is one of the most damaging native insects affecting spruce and true fir trees in Canada so the better we understand its ecology, the better we can understand the impacts it has.

In 2015, the Budworm Tracker program received a 90 percent return rate, an impressive feat for its first year running. Organizers are hoping to exceed last year’s success rate. This year they are targeting specific Ontario regions. Extra trackers are needed west of Thunder Bay as well as east and west of Sudbury into the Timmins and Hearst areas and all the way to Ottawa.

During an outbreak, spruce budworm kills large areas of forest resulting in significant consequences for the tourism and forest industries. It also increases the risk of fire. Current predictions indicate that a large-scale outbreak of the spruce budworm will develop in Ontario in the next few years.

This project will help researchers and forest managers better understand how populations of the insect grow, change and move across the landscape through the use of a collaborative, multi-province initiative and early intervention strategy. Trackers will be directed to a website developed specifically for this project www.budwormtracker.ca.