Fisheries and Land Resources

Forestry and Agrifoods

2011 Results and Outlook for 2012

Below is the summary from the 2011 report. Here is the full report: NL Pest Report 2011 (8 MB)

Summary - 2011

Eastern Hemlock Looper Control Program: A total of six blocks representing 3733 ha of susceptible forest were aerially treated with the biological insecticide B.t.k. using an application rate of 2 litres/ha. Treatments were made using a Dromader aircraft equipped with AU5000 rotary atomizers and an AG NAV GPS navigational system with Auto Cal Flow Meter and Auto Boom. As per permit requirements signage and public notification of block openings and areas treated was provided. Treatments were conducted over the period July 18 to August 2. Reductions in hemlock looper populations were recorded in all treatment blocks and defoliation was limited to less than 10%. Additional work to maintain equipment and infrastructure needed to support control related activities was also conducted in 2011.

Eastern Hemlock Looper (HL): The decline observed in HL populations in recent years continued in 2011. In light of this decline a network of 50 pheromone trapping locations was established in 2011. The number of male moths caught in traps will be used to detect and monitor subtle changes in populations even when populations are low and not detectable by traditional sampling methods for other life stages. In this initial year all traps were positive with an average of 60 moths per trap (range 2 to 358) - these results will serve as a baseline to monitor future trends. Aerial overview surveys conducted to map the severity and extent of defoliation found no moderate-severe defoliation from this insect in 2011. This is the first time that defoliation from this pest has not been recorded on the island since the early 1980's. For a second year no defoliation was mapped in Labrador following the damage observed from 2006 to 2009. Results from the fall egg survey conducted to forecast population/damage levels for 2012 also indicate that populations have drastically declined with 872 locations having no eggs, 66 have trace counts (1-2 eggs), 22 having low counts (3-9 eggs), and only two locations having moderate counts (10-29 eggs). Given these results, no aerial treatment program to control hemlock looper populations is needed in the Province in 2012, however, monitoring efforts will continue given its significant impact on our forests.

Eastern Spruce Budworm (SBW): The last outbreak of this major forest pest ended on the island in the late 1980's. In contrast, populations of this pest have been active around the Goose Bay area in Labrador for the last five years. Pheromone trap results from a network of 49 locations monitored annually on the island since 2000 indicate that populations of spruce budworm remain low. The aerial overview survey detected no areas of SBW defoliation on the island. Conversely in Labrador ca. 22000 ha of moderate-severe defoliation was mapped. This area is down from the 58000 ha mapped in 2010 with many areas previously defoliated showing signs of recovery. With the exception of a small area of moderate defoliation near Sheshatshiu, the areas defoliated in 2011 shifted further east along the south shore of Lake Melville in the vicinity of the English River. Fall egg mass survey results indicate that populations will remain active around the Goose Bay area in 2012 with 19 locations forecast to have light damage, 2 locations (S shore of Lake Melville near English River; 16 km SE of Goose Bay (Mud Lake)) forecast to have moderate damage, and one location (8 km E of Goose Bay) forecast to have severe damage. No concerns regarding impacts and the need for control were expressed by District 19 staff. On the island three locations (Sally's Cove, Zinc Mine Rd., Botwood Hwy.) with higher trap catches were sampled for egg masses. Only two egg masses (light defoliation forecast) were found at the Botwood location. Populations of this important insect pest will continue to be monitored in 2012, especially in light of the increasing populations occurring in the Province of Quebec.

Balsam Fir Sawfly (BFS): The last outbreak of this pest occurred on the island from 1991 to 2009. At present there is no pheromone lure for monitoring low density populations of this insect. One of the primary means for detecting this pest is through observations of damage made by IDCS staff and reports received from DNR District staff, forest industry or the general public. In 2011, damage from BFS was reported by District 7 staff on the Connaigre Peninsula. An aerial overview survey conducted by IDCS staff detected ca. 13000 ha of moderate to severe defoliation in scrub forest stands in this area. Small localized pockets of BFS defoliation were also observed from the ground by IDCS staff in west central portions of the island near the SE border of Gros Morne National Park. Results from the fall egg mass survey indicate that populations of this pest will remain high and expand slightly on the Connaigre Peninsula in 2012. Once again much of this area is in scrub forest stands. One moderate forecast point ca. 6 km N of St. Albans was found within an area with thinnings. In west-central NL, this pest will also remain active with 7 locations forecast to have light damage and one location N of Bonne Bay Little Pond forecast to have severe defoliation. No control for this pest will be conducted; however, areas will continue to be monitored in 2012 for defoliation and fall egg counts.

Spruce Beetle (SPBTL): Aerial overview surveys conducted on the island and in Labrador continue to detect SPBTL damage in areas with mature and overmature white spruce. On the island damaged trees continue to found in the Humber River valley. In Labrador the areas (Grand Lake road and Mud Lake/Kenemu River) with severe defoliation and dead trees have grown from ca. 11000 ha in 2005 to 41000 ha in 2011. Within this area there is now older mortality (i.e. grey trees and fallen timber) and fewer yellow or red trees indicating more recent attack. Fortunately much of this area appears to be in scrub stands with poor sites.

Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle (BSLB): This is an invasive alien species that attacks all spruce species. It was first introduced into the Halifax area in the late 1980's. Despite efforts to eradicate and contain this pest it has now spread into other areas of Nova Scotia and was found for the first time in Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick in 2011. Firewood brought in by campers is suspected as being the source of this most recent find. For invasive species, identifying high-risk commodities and pathways is extremely important. For BSLB these commodities include spruce round wood with bark, firewood and wood packaging materials. In 2011, the CFIA conducted trapping at 19 high risk sites including ports and wood processing facilities - no BSLB were found. The close proximity of positive finds in Atlantic Canada certainly reinforces the need to remain vigilant. Although the movement of high-risk commodities is regulated by the CFIA, additional education should be considered to reduce the risk of introducing this pest into the province.

Other Insect Pests: European pine shoot moth continues to be a common pest found in rP plantations. In the St. Anthony area, the hairy poplar sawfly caused severe defoliation of balsam poplar. In the Goose Bay area, defoliation caused by a grasshopper identified as the Huckleberry Spur-Throated Grasshopper, was observed on young spruce trees in a plantation. Damage by grasshoppers on planted trees, although less common, was also found on planted rP and jP in Manitoba in the 1970's.

Scleroderris (EU) Canker: This invasive alien species is a serious disease of hard pines. It causes tree mortality in both young and mature trees with rP being the most susceptible. In 2011, aerial overview surveys detected damage in 25 year old rP plantations in the Berry Hill Pond and White Hills areas. Follow-up ground sampling and examination of samples by Dr. Gary Warren of the CFS and staff from the CFIA confirmed the presence of this disease in both these areas, as well as, a jP site in Conne River Pond. These new find are well outside of the existing quarantine zone (Avalon Peninsula) for this disease. Survey work conducted in 2011 for this disease is summarized. A Scleroderris (EU) canker working group was also formed to coordinate and provide expertise on dealing with this disease. If left unchecked it has the potential to spread into other rP areas. At risk are indigenous or native rP stands of ecological significance and planted rP. To date ca. 3.1 million dollars has been invested in the latter. A summary of work to be conducted in 2012, including a directed SCLEU survey to look at the distribution and occurrence of this disease, is provided.

Other Disease Pests: Red band needle blight was also detected in rP plantations with SCLEU. On the island and in Labrador spruce needle rust was also prevalent with heavy infection reported in the Grand Lake Road area near Goose Bay and areas around Labrador City.

Assessments of High-Value Areas: Significant annual investments have been made in silviculture. At present there are ca. 250000 ha of high-value areas (plantations and thinnings). These represent ca. 20% of the 1.3 million ha of forest considered to be productive and operationally available for harvest on the island. At present there is no routine or systematic assessments (i.e. 5 or 10-yr) made in these areas following their establishment. Given the above, a survey to monitor forest pest conditions in high-value areas was initiated in 2011. Details related to the sampling protocols used can be found in Appendix D. A total of 132 (97 thinnings; 35 plantations) locations were assessed. Forest pests were identified and their incidence recorded. On bF the most common pest damage observed was twig attack by the balsam woolly adelgid, moose browse, and damage from the Balsam gall midge. On spruce, the most common pest occurrences were spruce bud midge, needle rust, and moose browse. This survey also provided the opportunity to conduct additional assessments to record the levels of balsam woolly adelgid (BWA) damage observed in thinned stands. Random assessments of BWA damage on 50-75 trees in each stand were made in 91 of the 97 thinnings. Thinnings assessed in Districts 11, 12 and 14 had higher levels of damage. In contrast, thinnings in Districts 9, 10, 15, and 16 had no damage or light damage. The lack of any reports of BWA damage in thinnings assessed in Districts 17 and 18 also indicates that BWA is not very active on the northern peninsula. Given the number of reports of moose browse damage, the locations with moose browse and the percentage of trees affected at each location was examined. Moose browse was recorded in Districts 9, 10, 11, 15 and 16. In contrast, no incidence of moose browse damage was recorded in high-value areas assessed in Districts 12, 13 and 14. In 2012, forest pest monitoring work in silvicultural areas will be continued with efforts made to assess plantations and thinnings in areas not assessed in 2011, while maintaining a level of monitoring across the Province.

Research: The department continues to participate in research projects through its membership with the Spray Efficacy Research Group International (SERG-I). It allows SERG-I members to work cooperatively on research projects through the sharing of expertise, and financial and in-kind resources to achieve common goals in the areas of spray efficacy and integrated pest management. In 2011, five projects were partially funded with results reported in Appendix E. The most significant research contribution made was funding for a research project to determine and evaluate the major ecological factors affecting the population dynamics of HL with the overall purpose of providing critical information required to predict HL phenologies and population dynamics in a changing environment. This information will be extremely valuable as we try to manage or mitigate the impacts of this major forest pest in the future. The department also continues to contribute to forest pest research and forest pest management in general through its involvement with the National Forest Pest Strategy and Forest Pest Management Forum. Identifying research priorities and participating in research initiatives continues to be an important component in providing the information and tools needed to protect our forests through an integrated pest management approach.

Other Special Project/Tests in 2011: A number of in-house trials and projects were conducted to compare and test existing and different sampling methods used to monitor insect development, conduct pre and post-spray sampling, and forecast pest populations. The purpose of these trials was to evaluate and improve methods were appropriate. Results are summarized in Appendix A, B, and C and will assist in all the above areas. Additional attention to headcap widths when visually determining instars should improve measurements of larval development. Advantages were observed in using a branch sampling method instead of tree beatings for assessments of larval development and efficacy. Information found on the number of HL eggs on different parts of a branch indicate that for now a larger branch should be used, however, the branch length probably does not need to exceed 150cm to correlate with historical thresholds of total eggs versus defoliation. The testing of different lab washing techniques found no difference in the number of eggs removed from branches when using 20 versus 10 litres of solution, and the rinsing of branches found additional eggs 50% of the time - these will lead to changes in lab processing/washing methods.

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