The spruce budworm outbreak of the 1970s and 1980s has had a profound influence on how the Maine forest industry has evolved over the past 30 years as well as on Maine’s economy statewide. The next outbreak, already extensive in Quebec and New Brunswick, is expected to impact Maine within the next 5 years.
The Maine Spruce Budworm Task Force, formed in 2013 with experts from the Maine Forest Service, Maine Forest Products Council, and the University of Maine’s Cooperative Forestry Research Unit, recently launched a website (and related Facebook page) to convey lessons learned during the last outbreak and be proactive about sharing up-to-date outbreak and response efforts to mitigate potential negative impacts from the future infestation. The Task Force’s efforts aim to enhance research efforts and project model future conditions so that appropriate investments in forest management in place to utilize the wood generated by this future outbreak while attempting to mitigate negative impacts on wildlife habitats, recreation and other forest resources.
Regardless of your role in Maine’s forest industry, whether directly if you are operating in or sourcing wood from the affected areas or indirectly by the associated market reactions to a significant influx of spruce and fir into the supply chain, the next SBW outbreak will likely affect you. The material found at the Maine Spruce Budworm website will facilitate communications between forest industry professionals and among interested parties in the public and government.