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Jack pine and spruce budworm outbreak threatens Crown forests

Province rolls out pest management plan for Northern Ontario

The Ontario government is targeting a budworm outbreak in Northern Ontario Crown forests.

The province is spending more than $40 million in a pest management program to combat spruce budworm infestations in the northeast and jack pine budworm infestations in the northwest.

The situation has been monitored closely since 2014 and, according to the government, has grown exponentially from 2018 to 2019.

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In a news release, the province said if left unchecked, these infestations could cause "significant losses to the future wood supply for the forest industry and increase fire hazard risk."

The money is being released through the Forestry Futures Trust, used to fund forest renewal activities. The spending is part of the government's forest sector strategy released last August.

"Ontario is a world leader in sustainable forest management, and our forest sector is a major source of revenue and jobs in this province, so it is critical we ensure that our forests are healthy, diverse and productive," said Natural Resources and Forestry Minister John Yakabuski in a statement.

"Protecting Ontario's forests from harmful pests is one way our government will ensure that we keep Ontario's forest sector strong."

Ontario’s forest sector annually generates more than $18 billion in revenue and employs 147,000 directly and indirectly.