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The ash tree infected by the emerald ash borer has holes and discolors.

Radio-Canada

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Isabelle Aubin, researcher at the Great Lakes Forestry Center in Sault-Sainte-Marie, presented during a virtual forum Wednesday the results of a study conducted with colleagues on the vulnerability of Canadian forests to insects exotic pests.

Canadian and American experts are participating this week in this forum organized by the Center on Invasive Species in Sault Ste. Marie.

The objective of the forum is to share the research methods used to monitor the species present in North America and the different management and prevention strategies in Canada and the United States.

The researchers wanted to know what proportion of the Canadian forest is likely to be affected as well as the regions and species that could be more or less affected.

We have more and more exotic pests arriving with the increase in international trade, underlines Ms. Aubin.

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Researcher at the Great Lakes Forestry Center in Sault-Sainte-Marie, Isabelle Aubin indicates that forests are more vulnerable to insect pests.

And at the same time, our forests are also much more sensitive to pests because they are subject to episodes of drought, significant changes in their growing conditions with climate change, explains the researcher.

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It's really the synergy of the two that makes our forests particularly vulnerable to pests.

A quote from Isabelle Aubin, researcher at the Great Lakes Forestry Center in Sault-Sainte-Marie

According to Ms. Aubin, a species of concern is the emerald ash borer which is now found as far north as Sault-Sainte-Marie and Thunder Bay.

With climate change, we find ourselves with insects like the pine beetle which is currently in the west and which could become a concern for Ontario, for our pines which are in the north, she emphasizes.

Researchers point out that invasive species are expensive to manage once they're established, so the best strategy is to try to prevent them from arriving and establishing themselves.

A surveillance network and targeted interventions to reduce the risks of introduction , slowing down introductions allows us to gain decades and gives us time to develop control methods, to learn to live with the insect, to manage it better, mentions Ms. Aubin.

Invasive Species Forum continues through Friday.

With information from Chris St-Pierre

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