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Mismatch between Herbivore Behavior and Demographics Contributes to Scale-Dependence of Host Susceptibility in Two Pine Species

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The impacts on forests of tree-killing bark beetles can depend on the species composition of potential host trees. Host susceptibility might be an intrinsic property of tree species, or it might depend on spatial patterning of alternative host species. We compared the susceptibility of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) and Virginia pine (P. virginiana) to southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) at two hierarchical levels of geographic scale: within beetle infestations in heterospecific stands (extent ranging from 0.28 to 0.65 ha), and across a forest landscape (extent 72,500 ha) that was dominated by monospecific stands. In the former, beetles preferentially attacked Virginia pine (tree mortality = 65–100% in Virginia pine versus 0–66% in loblolly pine), but in the latter, loblolly stands were more susceptible than Virginia stands. This hierarchical transition in host susceptibility was predicted from knowledge of (1) a behavioral preference of beetles for attacking loblolly versus Virginia pine, (2) a negative correlation between preference and performance, and (3) a mismatch in the domain of scale between demographics and host selection by individuals. There is value for forest management in understanding the processes that can produce hierarchical transitions in ecological patterns. FOR. SCI. 51(6):522–531.

Keywords: Pinus; Scolytinae; Spatial scale; disturbance; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; hierarchical transition; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences Dartmouth College Hanover NH 03755 Present Address: Suonenjoki Research Station Finnish Forest Research Institute Juntintie 154 Suonenjoki Finland FI-77600 Phone: +358-10-211-4916, Fax: +358-10-211-4801, Email: 2: Southern Research Station USDA Forest Service 2500 Shreveport Highway Pineville LA 03755 Present Address: USGS Florida Integrated Science Center 412 NE 16th Ave. Gainesville FL 32601-3701, Email: 3: Department of Biological Sciences Dartmouth College Hanover NH 03755, Email:

Publication date: 2005-12-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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