Spruce Budworm Task Force Report for Public Review and Comment

Maine’s Spruce Budworm Assessment & Preparation Plan Draft, produced by the SBW Task Force for the coming spruce budworm outbreak, has been released  for public review and comment and is accessible here:

Maine SBW Assessment, Preparation, and Response Plan – DRAFT FOR PUBLIC REVIEW – 11-9-2014

The spruce budworm is the most damaging forest insect in North America. Returning to northern Maine every 30 to 60 years in a natural cycle, the budworm kills balsam fir and spruce trees. During the last outbreak in the 1970s through ’80s, the insect killed 20–25 million cords of spruce-fir wood across northern Maine, costing the state’s forest-based economy hundreds of millions of dollars. It also changed the course of forest management for the next 40 years. The next outbreak is approaching. More than 10 million acres of spruce-fir forest have been severely defoliated by spruce budworm caterpillars in Quebec. Affected forests are within a few miles of Maine’s northern border.

The draft report includes more than 70 recommendations to help forestry professionals respond to the coming outbreak. The comment period is open until February 1, 2015; comments can be e-mailed to Dr. Robert Wagner, SBW Task Force Co-Leader, at robert.wagner@maine.edu.