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Tree Mortality Following Defoliation by the European Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar L.) in the United States: A Review

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This review presents information related to defoliation by the European gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar L.) and subsequent tree mortality in the eastern United States. The literature describing defoliation-induced tree mortality is extensive, yet questions still remain concerning (1) the association between initial stand composition and subsequent tree mortality, (2) the influence of site quality on tree mortality, and (3) observed differences between mortality rates in initial and subsequent outbreaks. Our review and analysis of the available literature indicates that initial species composition affects subsequent defoliation. Stands with predominantly susceptible host species have higher levels of species-specific and total mortality than mixed stands of susceptible, resistant, and immune host species. Differences in mortality on sites of varying productivity do not appear to be a direct result of site quality; rather, site quality indirectly influences mortality rates through its effect on species composition and therefore defoliation. Differences between initial and subsequent outbreaks appear to be due primarily to losses of vulnerable oaks and lower canopy species during the initial outbreak; oak mortality in initial outbreaks was found to be significantly greater (P = 0.0727) than oak mortality in subsequent outbreaks. For. Sci. 45(1):74-84.
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Keywords: Defoliation effects; Lepidoptera; Lymantriidae; stand dynamics; vulnerability

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Extension Project Leader-Natural Resources and Professor, Department of Forestry, College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources, 228 Cheatham Hall Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Publication date: 1999-02-01

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    Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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