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An Improved Technique to Evaluate Climate-Southern Pine Beetle Relationships

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A new procedure to evaluate the effect of climate on southern pine beetle (SPB) outbreaks was developed and applied to 18 years of data from East Texas. A major advantage of the procedure involves the incorporation of principal components analysis to insure independent variable orthogonality and permit the simultaneous inclusion of certain climatic variables which may be somewhat related. Three water balance variables and three additional variables which account for climatic extremes were included, and for the first time, SPB/climate models for individual months were constructed. The importance of moisture deficits, surpluses, and climatic extremes on SPB outbreaks was demonstrated, and an important lag time differential between climate and spring vs. summer month outbreaks was uncovered. The effect of climate upon outbreaks varied in explainable fashion between spring and summer months. The developed model adequately predicted variations in outbreak intensities for 1958-60 and 1979-80. Forest Sci. 27:579-589.

Keywords: Dendroctonus frontalis; climatic extremes; moisture deficit; moisture surplus; principal components analysis

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor of Geography, Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711

Publication date: September 1, 1981

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