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Catfaces on Lodgepole Pine--Fire Scars or Strip Kills by the Mountain Pine Beetle?

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Basal scars on lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta, are common in central Oregon forests. Although foresters have generally called them fire scars, many result from old strip-attacks by the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae--attacks that kill only one side of the stem. Strip-kill scars are usually wide at the bottom and narrow at the top, less than 4 m long, and on the north and east sides of the stem. Dating the scars showed that central Oregon suffered a beetle outbreak between 1920 and 1925 and another between 1900 and 1905. Observations of ring widths in stem sections show that a current outbreak and the previous one started when stand growth was very slow. The mountain pine beetle is apparently an important thinning agent that relieves competition in overstocked stands.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Ph.D. Candidate, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Seattle

Publication date: 1983-09-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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