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Report on Sask. forests released
Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013 4:35PM CST
Over half of Saskatchewan is covered by boreal forest. While the land of living skies is famous for its patchwork fields of canola and wheat, there are more 34 million hectares of publicly owned forests in the province.
According to a report released by the Ministry of Environment on Wednesday, Saskatchewan forests are in good health. The report is released annually, and contributes to major assessments that are released every ten years.
To evaluate the millions of hectares of boreal land, the ministry looks at four key indicators: forest fires, insects and disease, forestation, and land regeneration.
The report said the levels of fire are currently healthy, however it did note that preventing unnecessary human-caused fires is still a concern.
The ministry has a plan to help combat disease and infestation in Saskatchewan forests. Between 1996 there was a significant outbreak of spruce budworm that peaked in 2002. Since then, levels have fallen, with only a slight increase between 2009 and 2010 and there is a program in place to determine whether or not spraying is necessary.
The report showed that commercial forest use consistently below the maximum volume, but that certain areas are more heavily forested than others and that the ministry is monitoring the situation.
Overall, approximately 97 per cent of Saskatchewan forest harvested has regenerated.