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Resistance of fast- and slow-growing subalpine fir to pheromone-induced attack by western balsam bark beetle (Coleoptera: Scolytinae)

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1 We investigated the resistance of fast- and slow-growing subalpine fir to pheromone-induced attack by western balsam bark beetle at two sites in the interior of British Columbia, Canada.

2 Attack success by the beetle and subsequent tree mortality were higher in slow-growing trees than in fast-growing trees.

3 Fast-growing trees were more likely to produce secondary resin, and in greater quantities, than slow-growing trees after attack.

4 Host vigour (indicated by recent radial growth) was positively related to the induced defense response and resistance of subalpine fir to bark beetle attack. These results are discussed in the context of plant defense and plant–herbivore interaction hypotheses.

5 Given the preference of western balsam bark beetle for weakened trees, as well as the reduced defenses and increased mortality rates in less vigorous trees, effective management tactics for this beetle may include strategies that increase the growth and vigour of its subalpine fir host.

Keywords: Abies lasiocarpa; bark beetles Dryocoetes confusus; growth; growth–differentiation balance hypothesis; host vigour; induced defense; plant defense; plant stress; plant–insect interactions

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Northern British Columbia 3333 University Way Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9 Canada and 2: BC Ministry of Forests, 515 Columbia Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 2T7, Canada

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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