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Spruce Budworm-Caused Mortality to Balsam Fir and Black Spruce in Pure and Mixed Conifer Stands

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Spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana Clem.) (SBW) outbreaks have caused considerable damage to coniferous forests dominated by balsam fir (Abies balsamea [L.] Mill.) or black spruce (Picea mariana [Mill.]). Hence, forecasting SBW-caused mortality of these species is an important step in allowable annual cut calculations of the forest industry in northeastern North America. This study developed prediction models of balsam fir and black spruce mortality caused by SBW and compared SBW-caused mortality of fir and spruce that were growing under similar stand conditions. Zero-inflated models were estimated for the entire range of balsam fir and black spruce in Quebec, Canada, using historical records of insect defoliation and permanent sample plot inventories from 1970 to 2006. Fir and spruce mortality caused by SBW was successfully related to historical records of defoliation through a growth reduction index. Fir mortality increased with the number of years of severe defoliation and was always greater than that of spruce, which appeared to be weakly affected by SBW defoliation. In mixed spruce-fir stands, the total volume of mortality decreased almost linearly with increasing proportions of black spruce. This suggests that thinning aimed to increase spruce proportions could be efficient in reducing overall stand mortality during an SBW outbreak.
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Keywords: Abies balsamea; Choristoneura fumiferana; Picea mariana; insect defoliation; zero-inflated models

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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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.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
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