The federal government will spend $2 million in an attempt to stem the spread of the mountain pine beetle in Alberta, MP Rob Merrifield announced Friday in Edmonton.
"Today's investment is one of the positive actions our government is taking to fight the northward and eastward spread of the mountain pine beetle," Merrifield said in a statement.
The beetles, which are as small as a grain of rice, attack mature pines, tunnelling into the trunks and spreading a blue-stained fungus. The beetles have already destroyed large parts of forests in British Columbia and are expected to have wiped out nearly 80 per cent of the province's pines by 2013.
The new federal money is aimed at trying to prevent similar destruction in Alberta.
The government said most of the funding will go to areas that have been identified as at risk, such as the southern Rockies and the Lesser Slave Lake region.
"This is a targeted control program based on the best scientific knowledge, which is ensuring that our resources are used effectively to slow the spread of the beetle infestation," Merrifield said.