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Mountain Pine Beetle in Walrus Magazine

Patrick White writes about the effect of the pine beetle on the British Columbia economy in the April issue of Walrus Magazine (subscription required). Titled ‘Red Rush,’ much of the article describes life in logging towns like Vanderhoof, British Columbia. White’s prose is terrific. He portrays the impact of ‘bug kill’ on logging families and logging towns. Some of the news is positive: there’s a race on to cut the trees reddened by the pine beetle’s bite and it has dragged Vanderhoof into a boom. Some of it is less-than-positive: the wood isn’t good forever. But minerals are encouraging a renewed rush to northern BC even if the trees don’t last.

The article is illustrated with images from computer model of the pine beetle’s spread … from 1999 to 2014. And the Saik’uz (Dakelh; Carrier Athapaskans) are significant in White’s account too. Their traditional knowledge of forest health is mentioned as is the age-old story of native economies being displaced by non-native developments.

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