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Risk of dispersal in western spruce budworm

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1 Western spruce budworm Choristoneura occidentalis Free. larvae emerge in the spring before buds have expanded and spend a variable period of time foraging on branches and mining needles.

2 Losses of dispersing budworms during this needle-mining period are related directly to the severity of defoliation in previous years and inversely related to foliage biomass in the study plot and to temperature and rainfall during the needle-mining period.

3 Losses can be interpreted in terms of risk of dispersal, which is the product of the propensity of early-stage budworms to disperse in search of resources and the consequences of this behaviour for survival under variable ecological conditions.

4 A comparison of the species-specific nature of risk of dispersal in three conifer-feeding budworm systems of North America may elucidate the common nature but variable features of their respective population dynamics.

Keywords: Defoliation; larval dispersal; population ecology; spruce budworms

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry Centre, 1055 PEPS St, Québec, Québec, Canada, G1V 4C7

Publication date: May 1, 2009


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