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Home > Alberta's Resource Inventory > Forests > Agents of Change > Pesiticides

Resource Inventory

Pesticides

Aspen ForestTwo main types of pesticides are used in forest protection and management: insecticides for insect control, and herbicides for control of competing vegetation in reforested stands.

Historically, conventional chemical insecticides have been widely used in parts of Canada to control forest insect pests. In Alberta, however, these insecticides have not been used on a major scale in forested areas. Currently, Alberta uses two types of biological insecticides to control forest insect pests: biological-based products; and biochemical-based products, such as insect growth hormones and phermones.

Herbicides are one silvicultural tool that may be used to manage forest vegetation to achieve specific forest management goals. These products have proven to be an effective, cost-efficient means of managing vegetative competition in reforested coniferous cutblocks. The large-scale application of herbicides is a relatively new practice in Alberta forests.

In Alberta, the provincial government supports the responsible use of herbicides for forest vegetation management in accordance with provincial and federal legislation and provincial guidelines. According to Alberta's guidelines, herbicides can be used to reduce competition from non-crop vegetation (grass, shrubs, etc.) during site preparation and stand-tending operations. The objective is to establish and maintain or improve the growth of desired tree species.

All forest vegetation management practices, including herbicide use, are determined both by forest management objectives (such as wildlife, recreation, watershed, grazing) and by the vegetation management options available to meet those objectives in an environmentally sound manner.

Department of the Environment. State of the Environment Report, Terrestrial Ecosystems. Edmonton: n.p., 2001. With permission from Alberta Environment.

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