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Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest: bark beetle responses to differences in forest structure and the application of prescribed fire in interior ponderosa pine

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Mechanical thinning and the application of prescribed fire are commonly used tools in the restoration of fire-adapted forest ecosystems. However, few studies have explored their effects on subsequent amounts of bark beetle caused tree mortality in interior ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex P. & C. Laws. var. ponderosa. In this study, we examined bark beetle responses to creation of midseral (low diversity) and late-seral stages (high diversity) and the application of prescribed fire on 12 experimental units ranging in size from 76 to 136ha. A total of 9500 (5.0% of all trees) Pinus and Abies trees died 2 years after treatment of which 28.8% (2733 trees) was attributed to bark beetle colonization. No significant difference in the mean percentage of trees colonized by bark beetles was found between low diversity and high diversity. The application of prescribed fire resulted in significant increases in bark beetle caused tree mortality (all species) and for western pine beetle, Dendroctonus brevicomis LeConte, mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, Ips spp., and fir engraver, Scolytus ventralis LeConte, individually. Approximately 85.6% (2339 trees) of all bark beetle caused tree mortality occurred on burned split plots. The implications of these and other results to sustainable forest management are discussed.

L’éclaircie mécanisée et le brûlage dirigé sont des outils couramment utilisés pour restaurer les écosystèmes adaptés au feu. Cependant, peu d’études ont examiné leurs effets sur l’ampleur subséquente de la mortalité causée par les scolytes chez le pin ponderosa typique, Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex P. & C. Laws. var. ponderosa. Dans cette étude, nous examinons la réaction des scolytes à la création de forêts aux stades de milieu de succession écologique (faible diversité) et aux derniers stades de succession écologique (forte diversité) ainsi qu’à l’utilisation du brûlage dirigé dans 12 unités expérimentales dont la dimension varie de 76 à 136 ha. Un total de 9500 tiges de Pinus et d’Abies (5,0% de tous les arbres) étaient mortes 2 ans après les traitements. De ce nombre, la mort de 28,8% des tiges (2733 arbres) a été attribuée à la colonisation par les scolytes. Aucune différence significative dans le pourcentage d’arbres colonisés par les scolytes n’a été observée entre les traitements faible diversité et forte diversité. L’utilisation du brûlage dirigé a entraîné une augmentation significative de la mortalité causée par toutes les espèces de scolytes et en particulier par le dendroctone occidental du pin, Dendroctonus brevicomis LeConte, le dendroctone du pin ponderosa, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, Ips spp. et le scolyte du sapin, Scolytus ventralis LeConte. Approximativement 85,6% (2339 arbres) de toute la mortalité causée par les scolytes est survenue dans la portion brûlée des parcelles expérimentales. La discussion porte sur les implications de ces résultats et d’autres sur l’aménagement forestier durable.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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