Fisheries and Land Resources

Forestry and Agrifoods

2014 Results and Outlook for 2015

Below is the summary from the 2014 report. Here is the full report: NL Pest Report 2014 (11 MB)

Summary - 2014

Control Program: There has been a long history of control programs to protect forest areas of the Province; however, programs are only conducted when deemed necessary. Given the forecast results for 2014 and the additional factors mentioned in the report, no control program was conducted in 2014. This is only the third year (1991, 2012, and 2014) since 1977 that treatments have not been conducted.

Weather / Seasonal Phenology: Weather information, specifically daily maximum and minimum temperatures are used annually to calculate degree day accumulations. The 2014 degree day accumulations were compared to those from previous years known to be warmer or cooler. In 2014, seasonal development was especially slow (2 weeks behind normal) in the early part of the year, however, temperatures improved during the months of June and July with accumulated degree days reaching normal levels by mid-July. At that time seasonal development was approximately 1-2 weeks behind that of warmer years (1999, 2012). Operational logistics for the timing of all surveys were adjusted accordingly.

Eastern Hemlock Looper (HL): Given the decline observed in HL populations in the last 5-10 years, pheromone trapping was initiated in 2011 to help monitor low density populations. This network of 50 locations was expanded to 105 - 106 locations in 2012 and 2013 and a small number of locations (n=7) were monitored in Labrador. In 2014, the number of trapping locations was increased to 118 sites on the island and 36 sites in Labrador. At 93 of the 118 trapping sites on the island and the 36 trappings sites in Labrador, two Unitrap® traps, each containing a 10 μg HL pheromone lure from Contech Enterprises Inc. and one Vaportape killing strip were placed at each location prior to adult moth flight. At the remaining 25 locations on the island, two Unitrap® traps, one containing a 10 μg HL pheromone lure from Contech Enterprise Inc. and a Vaportape killing strip, and the other a new 10 μg HL pheromone lure from Sylvar Technologies Inc. and a Vaportape killing strip were placed. For reasons unknown the trapping results using the Contech lure in 2014 did not appear to be as responsive to population density changes. Even when traps were placed in areas with active HL populations and noticeable defoliation, trap catches were lower than previously observed when defoliation was absent. This change in the response of the Contech lure made interpretation of the 2014 pheromone trapping data more difficult. Fortuitously, testing of the new HL lure from Sylvar found this lure was more responsive to population differences and consistently caught more moths. This lure will be used in 2015 for monitoring of HL populations using pheromone traps. An aerial overview survey was conducted in late July - August to map the severity and extent of damage found in the Province. This survey was made more difficult by the presence of large numbers of balsam fir over wide-spread areas with reddish brown discoloration in the upper crowns caused by heavy cone crops and thin foliage. Damage observed from the air had to be checked more closely to not confuse this with reddish discoloration of foliage caused by insect feeding. As expected based on results from the 2013 HL fall forecast survey, 577 ha of M-S defoliation was observed on the Avalon Peninsula in the Tors Cove Pond area. What was unexpected, however, was the detection of a pocket of 2,506 ha of M-S defoliation in the Ten Mile Lake area on the Northern Peninsula. The results for the 2014 fall forecast survey on the island indicate that HL populations have erupted in a number of localized areas (Ten Mile Lake; Leg Pond; Hawkes Bay; Whites River) on the Northern Peninsula with a total gross area of 20,656 ha forecast to have M-S defoliation in 2015. Within this forecast area, a total of 1,314,826 and 1,456,384 cu m of current and predicted volume is at risk. Ten percent of this volume is also from stands were silvicultural investments of $811,000 - 973,200 have been made in pre-commercial thinning. Treatments will be conducted in these areas in 2015 to reduce populations and expected levels of damage. In Labrador, no defoliation from HL was observed in 2014 or has been observed since the collapse of the last outbreak which occurred from 2006 to 2009. The results for the 2014 fall forecast survey also indicate that HL populations will remain low in Labrador with only one egg found at one of 64 locations assessed. In 2015, HL populations will continue to be closely monitored, particularly on the Northern Peninsula given the increases observed in 2014.

Eastern Spruce Budworm (SBW): The last outbreak of this major forest pest ended on the island in the mid 1980's, however, SBW populations have been active in the Goose Bay area in Labrador for the last seven years. A large outbreak of this pest is currently underway in Quebec along the north shore of the St. Lawrence and Gaspé. Given the potential of SBW moths reaching Newfoundland under favourable weather conditions, in 2000 a network of 49 pheromone trapping locations was established to monitor low density populations. This network was increased to 100 and 108 trapping locations in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In 2014, traps were placed at 110 trapping locations on the island. In Labrador, trapping was expanded from 10 locations in Happy Valley - Goose Bay to 12 locations, and an additional 24 locations were added in the Cartwright (12 locations) and Port Hope Simpson (12 locations) areas. At each location two Unitrap® traps, were placed ca. 40m apart. At 116 locations one trap/location contained a 330 μg SBW flex lure from Synergy Semiochemicals Corp. and a Vaportape killing strip, and the other trap contained a 330 μg SBW flex lure from Contech Enterprises Inc. and a Vaportape killing strip. This was to compare trap catches for traps baited with a SBW flex lure from two different manufacturers. In the other 28 locations, one trap contained a 330 μg SBW flex lure purchased from Synergy in 2014 and a Vaportape killing strip, and the other a 330 μg SBW flex lure purchased from Synergy in 2013 and a Vaportape killing strip. This was to test the consistency in trap catches between lures purchased from the same manufacturer in 2013 and 2014. No difference in trap catches were observed between traps baited with lures purchased in 2013 and 2014. Traps baited with the Sylvar lure from 2013 or 2014, however, consistently caught ca. 2x the number of moths compared to the traps baited with the Contech lure. The reasons for these differences and the implications with respect to examining year to year trends are reported. Using pheromone trapping results for only traps baited with Sylvar lures, overall trap catches in the Province declined in 2014. On the Northern Peninsula, areas where trap catches increased by two-fold in 2013 decreased by same order of magnitude in 2014. With the assistance of other cooperators, five trapping locations along the west coast were routinely monitored to record trap catches more frequently during the adult flight period. This was to try to determine if moths caught in these traps included those migrating from other areas. Trapping results at these sites in 2014 appeared to indicate that moth migration was present, but at much lower levels than observed in 2013. The obvious concern over moth immigration is the possible significance it may have in populations increasing and overwhelming natural control agents (i.e. predators, parasites, disease) that would normally keep local populations in check. No defoliation from SBW was observed during the aerial defoliation survey conducted on the island. In Labrador, not unexpectedly, trap catches were higher in the Happy Valley - Goose Bay area where SBW populations have been active in the last eight years, however, the area of M-S defoliation caused by SBW declined from 82,231 ha in 2013 to 50,747 in 2014. In 2014, the Province began forecasting SBW populations and damage using an L2 survey versus an egg mass survey. L2 survey results in Labrador indicate that SBW populations will again be active in 2015 and capable of causing M-S defoliation in areas around Happy Valley - Goose Bay. On the island, L2 survey results identified areas where light SBW defoliation will occur. In particular areas north of Gros Morne National Park (i.e. Sally's Cove, Zinc Mine Rd, Batteau Barrens, River of Ponds) had a high percentage of locations with L2's. Interestingly this is within the same area on the Northern Peninsula where higher trap catches were observed in 2013. A number of the forecast locations in this area also had 4 or more L2/branch. This is thought to be the threshold above which SBW populations can overcome the natural controls that keep them at endemic levels. Given these results and the historical impacts from SBW, discrete areas around these locations have been identified for possible treatment in 2015 using an "Early Intervention Strategy" to prevent populations from building. With the on-going expansion of SBW populations in eastern Canada, populations of this important insect pest will again be closely monitored in 2015.

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. In 2014, the IDC Section provided in-kind support to a SERG-I research project to develop and test compounds for a BFS pheromone lure. Until this monitoring tool is developed, the primary means for detecting this pest is through observations of damage. As expected, BFS populations continued to collapse in the St. Albans and Connaigre Peninsula areas in 2014 as evidenced by a high incidence of parasitism and disease. Only light defoliation was observed in an area north of St. Albans. This is in contrast to 13,000; 28,078; and 1,992ha of M-S defoliation observed in 2011, 2012, and 2013, respectively. Results from the 2014 fall egg survey also indicate a dramatic reduction in the number of eggs / location found with forecasted populations in the St. Albans area continuing to decline. The dramatic increase in the % of positive locations observed on the west coast based on the results from the 2013 egg survey and questions around whether this would be the start of an increasing trend were short-lived with no BFS eggs found at any of these sites during the 2014 egg survey.

Spruce Beetle (SPBTL): Aerial defoliation surveys conducted on the island and in Labrador continue to detect SPBTL damage in areas with mature and overmature spruce. Damaged trees, now with older mortality, continue to be found on the island in the Humber Valley area. Scattered white spruce mortality caused by SPBTL was also observed around Clarenville on the east coast and in the Harry's River area on the west coast. In Labrador, the area with severe defoliation and dead trees increased only slightly to 47,222 ha with the discovery of another 383 ha of damage in the Caribou River area in 2014. Within the area affected by SPBTL there is now older mortality and fewer yellow or red trees. Ca. 31,406 ha of this area is outside of the District 19a management area. In 2014, the IDC Section also provided in-kind support to a spruce beetle research project being conducted through SERG-I.

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 continues to spread into other areas of Nova Scotia and was found in traps in Kouchibouguac National Park, NB in 2011 and 2014. Firewood brought into the park by campers is suspected as being the source of these positive finds. A single BSLB adult was also caught in a trap placed in a woodlot in the Memramcook area in southeastern NB. 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 2014, the CFIA conducted trapping at 20 high risk sites in NL including Ports and wood processing facilities. Fortunately no BSLB were found, however, the close proximity of positive BSLB sites in Atlantic Canada reinforces the need to remain vigilant. 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.

Gypsy Moth (GM): The European GM is an invasive species that attacks a variety of trees and shrubs with preference given to deciduous species like oak, apple, birches and aspen. Humans are typically responsible for the long-range movement of this insect pest with egg masses laid on nursery stock, outdoor furniture, camping equipment, recreational vehicles, firewood, round wood, and other items capable of being transported great distances. The CFIA continue to conduct pheromone trapping for detection of this insect in NL. Approximately 300 traps are placed in the Province annually around different communities. Due to the capture of GM adults in the City of St. John's, a grid with a higher trapping density was established in recent years to direct searching for life-stages other than male moths. This led to the detection of one old egg mass in the fall of 2013 and one old egg mass in the spring of 2014. This was the first time that GM life-stages, other than male moths, have been found in the Province. In 2014, GM adults were again captured within the trapping grid in St. John's; however, ground searches to date have not detected any egg masses.

Other Insect Pests: Only a few other insect pests were detected or reported during the 2014 field season. Hairy poplar sawfly was again observed in the St. Anthony areas at reduced levels; damage from satin moth was observed on 50% of trembling aspen between Grand Falls - Windsor and St. John's; balsam fir trees damaged by balsam woolly adelgid remain common in south western and central portions of the island with damage particularly evident in the Bottom Brook area in 2014; a small area with light to severe damage caused by yellowheaded spruce sawfly was observed in the Clam Pond area in District 16; and populations of serpentine leafminer were reported to be active in Labrador in 2014.

Scleroderris (EU) Canker: This invasive alien species is a serious disease of hard pines and causes tree mortality in both young and mature trees with rP being the most susceptible. There are currently seven positive sites outside the existing quarantine zone. To prevent the spread of this disease to other planted and indigenous rP stands, an inter-departmental working group recommended eradication of this disease from known sites - merchantable wood was to be utilized; however, cut branches, tops and cankered stems with infective stages of the disease were to be left on site or subsequently burned. No eradication work was conducted in 2013 as an Environmental Assessment had to be carried out before any harvesting, considered an undertaking under existing legislation, could be conducted. Despite discussions in 2014 with headquarters and District Agency staff, no harvesting was conducted due to low volumes and tree diameters in these sites. Although expansion and increased mortality has been noted in known sites, fortunately there has been no expansion to new sites observed. The CFIA will continue to provide prohibition of movement certificates to prevent the movement of infected pine from these areas.

Other Disease Pests: Only a few other disease pests were detected and/or reported during the 2014 field season - spruce needle rust in areas on the Northern Peninsula; maple tar spot on red maple in central and eastern parts of the island.

Assessments of High-Value Areas: In 2014, other work priorities prevented IDC Section staff from conducting any assessments in high-value areas and prevented meetings with Regional and District staff to discuss their potential help in conducting forest health assessments in a subset of high-value areas on an annual basis.

Research: The Forestry and Agrifoods Agency continues to participate in research projects through its membership in SERG-International (SERG-I). SERG-I members work cooperatively on 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 2014, assistance was given to eleven projects with results reported in Appendix F. The Agency also contributed to forest pest research through its involvement with the National Forest Pest Strategy and Forest Pest Management Forum. Participating in research initiatives will continue to be an important component in providing the information and tools needed to protect our forests using an integrated pest management approach.

Other Special Trials / Initiatives in 2014: An in-house trial was conducted to evaluate tools (e.g. BioSIM, insect development models) and degree-day accumulations used to predict seasonal insect development (Appendix A). Paired trapping trials were also conducted for HL (Appendix B) and SBW (Appendix C) to compare adult moth catches in traps with pheromone lures produced by different manufacturers. Significant differences were found and the implications reported. In 2014, a light and pheromone trapping study was also initiated by Dr. Marc Rhainds of the CFS on the west coast/Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. This work will assist with the study of the dynamics of rising SBW populations and identify the parameters that may assist with the detection of moth immigration and rising populations - some initial results are reported in Appendix D. A small trial to evaluate the precision of SBW L2 estimates based 3 trees/plot was also conducted with results reported in Appendix E. These results will help to determine sample sizes that should be used to predict SBW L2 populations at the plot level.

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