Fisheries and Land Resources

Forestry and Agrifoods

2012 Results and Outlook for 2013

Below is the summary from the 2012 report. Here is the full report: NL Pest Report 2012 (9 MB)

Summary - 2012

Control Program: There was no aerial control program in 2012 - besides 1991, this is the only other time in the last 35 years that a program has not been conducted. Despite the absence of a program, personnel who normally provide support to control operations were still needed to maintain the equipment and infrastructure required to ensure DNR's operational readiness to carry-out control actions as and when needed. The absence of a program in 2012 actually provided additional time to address maintenance and infrastructure needs normally not completed during treatment years. IDMC control personnel also provided invaluable assistance to other programs (i.e. Fire, Forest Roads, and Districts) in 2012.

Weather / Seasonal Phenology: Weather information, specifically daily maximum and minimum temperatures were used to calculate degree-day accumulations in 2012. These were compared to degree-days accumulations from previous years. Results indicated that 2012 was a warm year, with development approximately 2 weeks ahead of that observed in 2011. The timing of all surveys had to be adjusted accordingly.

Eastern Hemlock Looper (HL): With the decline observed in HL populations in recent years, a network of 50 pheromone trapping locations established in 2011 was expanded to 105 locations on the island and 7 locations in Labrador in 2012. 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. With 2011 as the baseline year, in 2012 there was a general decrease in the percentage of traps found to have an average of more than 50 moths per trap. While large areas of the Province still have low HL populations, there were three localized areas (Zinc Mine Rd on N. Peninsula; N. of St. Albans on south coast; Little Harbour on isthmus of Avalon Peninsula) where HL pheromone trap catches were notably higher (318, 491 and 260 moths/trap). Aerial overview surveys conducted to map the severity and extent of damage found no defoliation in Labrador and no defoliation over much of the island. M-S defoliation, however, was observed in the Connaigre Peninsula (27542 ha) and St. Albans (579 ha) areas with feeding damage caused not only by HL, but by several other defoliators. Results from the fall forecast indicate that HL populations, although still low over much of the island, have increased slightly with 774 locations having no eggs, 134 having trace counts, 40 having low counts, 13 having moderate counts and 3 having severe counts. In Labrador HL populations which collapsed in 2009, still remain low with no eggs found at any of the 35 locations assessed. Interestingly the same three localized areas with higher pheromone trap catches also had forecast results that were moderate to severe. Initial and supplementary forecast sampling conducted in the Zinc Mine Rd. and St. Albans areas have identified 3708 and 2812 ha of susceptible forest expected to have M-S populations / damage in 2013.

Eastern Spruce Budworm (SBW): The last outbreak of this major forest pest ended on the island in the late 1980's, however, SBW populations have been active around the Goose Bay area in Labrador for the last six years. A large outbreak of this pest is currently underway in Quebec along the north shore of the St. Lawrence. Given the potential of SBW moths reaching the Province under favourable weather conditions, the network of 49 pheromone traps established to monitor low density population on the island since 2000 was increased to 100 locations in 2012. Along with the addition of more traps, routine monitoring at several traps on the west coast of the island was conducted to record trap catches over the season to try to determine if moths caught in these traps included those coming in from other areas. Trapping results on the island in 2012 showed an increase in the number of SBW moths caught. Routine monitoring of moth catches over the adult flight period also showed a sharp peak in moth catches, suggesting an immigration event occurred. This is significant as immigration of moths can lead to population increases with control agents (i.e. predators, parasites, disease) that normally keep local populations in check overwhelmed. Fortunately, aerial defoliation or ground surveys did not detect any areas of SBW defoliation on the island. In Labrador, however, ca. 33000 ha of M-S defoliation was mapped with populations rebounding unexpectantly in areas forecasted to have no or low populations/damage. This led to a small trial to look at egg mass densities in the late summer versus the fall. Defoliation was particularly severe along the Kenamu River and southern portions of the Carter Basin. Small pockets of damage continue to persist in Northwest River and Sheshatshiu. Damage was also observed along the Churchill and Goose Rivers. Along the south shore of Lake Melville, M-S defoliation detected in the vicinity of the English River in 2011, appeared to be greatly reduced in 2012. Fall egg mass survey results indicate that populations will remain active around the Goose Bay area in 2013. On the island, fall egg mass survey results around locations with higher pheromone trap catches did not detect any egg masses. Populations of this important insect pest need to be closely monitored in 2013, in light of increasing populations in the Province of Quebec, and opportunities for moth immigration.

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 IDMC 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 IDMC staff detected ca. 13000 ha of M-S defoliation in predominantly scrub forest stands in this area. As expected, in 2012 the area defoliated on the Connaigre Peninsula increased to 28078 ha with defoliation caused not only by BFS, but other defoliators in many of the same areas. An additional 1167 ha of M-S defoliation was also observed in the St. Albans area. Results from the fall egg survey indicate that populations of this pest will remain active in these areas in 2013. Populations are expected to decline on the Connaigre Peninsula, while in the St. Albans area 3814 ha of susceptible forest is forecast to have M-S defoliation in 2013. Ca. 2200 ha of this area will also have M-S defoliation from HL. In west-central NL, this pest will remain active with 4 locations forecast to have light damage and one location N of Bonne Bay Little Pond forecast to have moderate defoliation.

Spruce Beetle (SPBTL): Aerial defoliation 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 be 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 10988 ha in 2005 to 43312 ha in 2012. Within this area there is now older mortality (i.e. grey trees and fallen timber) and fewer yellow or red trees (i.e. symptoms of more recent attack). Ca. 27879 ha of this area is outside of the District 19a management area in non-commercial forest. The other 15433 ha falls within the management area.

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 2012, the CFIA carried out trapping at 19 high risk sites including ports and wood processing facilities - no BSLB were found. The close proximity of positive sites in Atlantic Canada certainly reinforces the need to remain vigilant. Although the movement of high-risk commodities is regulated by the CFIA, additional education and other measures (i.e. wood bins) at points of entry ((i.e. North Sydney) 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 continued to cause severe defoliation on balsam poplar. Populations / damage from whitemarked tussock moth and blackheaded budworm in combination with other major defoliators was observed in localized areas of the Province in 2012.

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, three locations with Scleroderris (EU) canker were identified outside of the existing quarantine zone (Avalon Peninsula) regulated by the CFIA. Prohibitions of movement certificates were issued by CFIA for these sites in 2012. Based on recommendations from the Scleroderris (EU) working group, a directed survey was conducted in 2012 to see if Scleroderris could be detected in other pine areas. Using forest inventory and silvicultural records, 463 sites with red pine were identifies. In 2012, 182 or 40% of these sites were assessed - while 178 were negative, the disease was found at four more locations (W of Bay d'Espoir Hwy near Berry Hill, Terra Nova River, Seal Bay - Kippens Ridge, Cold Brook). Although absent in 98% of the locations assessed, the four positive sites found were a considerable distance apart raising questions again about the pathways and mechanisms of spread of this disease. With the finds from 2011 and 2012 there are now a total of seven positive sites outside the quarantine zone. To prevent the spread of this disease to other planted and indigenous rP, the Scleroderris Working group also recommended that eradication of the disease at known sites be conducted. In 2012, work was initiated to eradicate the disease from the Cold Brook site with the harvest and removal of the red pine logs. Cut branches, tops and cankered stems left on site and will be burned in 2013. Discussions are underway to hopefully eradicate this disease from the remaining six sites in 2013. In the interim additional prohibitions of movement will be put in place by the CFIA.

Other Disease Pests: Red band needle blight was also detected in 76% of the rP plantations assessed for SCLEU. This can be an economically important disease of conifers with defoliation causing premature needle loss and reductions in yield. Although SCLEU was found in the Cold Brook site, the majority of damage was caused by Sirococcus shoot blight. This disease has been the most serious disease of rP in Nova Scotia. It kills the current-year shoots with repeated attacks resulting in foliage loss, stunted growth and eventual tree mortality. This is the first time that Sirococcus has caused damage at this scale on rP in the Province. Heavy infection by spruce needle rust observed in Labrador in 2011 was not reported in 2012.

Assessments of High-Value Areas: In 2012 a total of 122 (71 thinnings; 51 plantations) locations were assessed in central and eastern portions of the island. Forest pests were identified and their incidence recorded into broad categories of nil, trace, light, and moderate. On bF the most common pest damage observed was twig attack by balsam woolly adelgid, and moose browse. On spruce, the most common pests were spruce bud midge, spruce galling aphids, and yellowheaded spruce sawfly. This survey also provided the opportunity to conduct additional assessments to record the levels of balsam woolly adelgid (BWA) damage observed. After two years of assessing BWA damage, results show a band extending from the south western corner of the Province (District 14) up through central portions of the island to District 8 where BWA is more active.

Research: The department continues to participate in research projects through its membership with SERG-International (SERG-I). Through SERG-I members work cooperatively on research projects by sharing expertise, and financial and in-kind resources to achieve common goals in the areas of spray efficacy and integrated pest management. In 2012, eleven projects were partially funded with results reported in Appendix E. 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 Trials / Initiatives in 2012: A number of in-house trials were conducted to evaluate and improve sampling methods used to monitor seasonal phenology and forecast pest populations. The results of these trials are summarized in Appendix A, B, C and D. Beyond these special trials several other important initiatives were conducted through contract work carried out in 2012 and 2013. The first involved the creation of an Insect and Disease Control Operations Manual which describes the work and methods used by the IDMC to carry out its mandate. The second contract involves the transfer of new technology to the Province to assist in the prediction of impacts from major forest pests. It will allow for more informed decision making as it relates to quantifying the consequences of various control / no control actions.

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