Abstract

Mineral and petroleum exploration in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region of British Columbia is hampered by widespread and extensive cover of Pleistocene glacial deposits and Tertiary volcanic successions. Seeing through this geological cover is critical to reducing exploration risk and enhancing exploration activity. Also critical to exploration is effective community engagement, hopefully resulting in endorsement and support for exploration initiatives. The forests in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region have been extensively destroyed by an infestation of the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, disrupting established communities and greatly affecting economic activity in the region. Governments of all levels recognized that geological exploration activity could provide a ready and appreciable stimulus to economic activity, but only if local communities endorsed such programs. Relatively little oil and gas exploration and research has taken place in the region, and its effects have been poorly understood locally. Consequently, an extended effort was undertaken to establish an integrated geoscience program for the Cariboo-Chilcotin region, focused on mineral and petroleum exploration-related research and coupled with engagement with local communities to inform them of exploration benefits and risks. This Introduction to the “Mountain Pine Beetle” Special Issue of Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences provides a brief overview of the scientific papers included in the issue and also a review of the community engagement process that was undertaken to establish working relationships with First Nations and other communities in the region.

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