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A Comparison of Rating Systems for Dwarf Mistletoe-Induced Witches' Brooms in Ponderosa Pine

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We compared four methods of assessing dwarf mistletoe infection and estimating volume of dwarf mistletoe-induced witches' brooms in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). Witches' brooms can provide important wildlife habitat and can influence fire behavior. We used Hawksworth's dwarf mistletoe rating system (DMR), Tinnin's broom volume rating system (BVR), an estimate of the percentage of live crown occupied by witches' brooms (PCB), and a new system, total broom volume (TBV). We rated 12,536 trees for southwestern dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium vaginatum subsp. cryptopodum) infection and broom volume. Using Hawksworth's DMR and Tinnin's BVR systems, we were not able to distinguish trees with different witches' broom volumes at all sample sizes. At all sample sizes, TBV ratings accurately and precisely identified amount of witches' broom volume. We recommend that TBV be used to quantify witches' broom volume in ponderosa pine where wildlife habitat and fire ecology are primary concerns. West. J. Appl. For. 19(1):54–59.
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Keywords: Arceuthobium vaginatum; broom volume rating; dwarf mistletoe; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; infection rating; natural resource management; natural resources; ponderosa pine; witches' broom

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University, Box 15018 Flagstaff, AZ, 86011,

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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