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Evaluation of Risk Assessment of Mountain Pine Beetle Infestations

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Decision support systems to aid the management of mountain pine beetles combine characteristics of the stand and beetle infestation to estimate risk of damage. Beetle infestation information is now available in a format amenable to the operational implementation of risk. In this study, an established risk rating system was evaluated to determine the utility of the values generated. For a study area located in British Columbia, Canada, global positioning systems were used to survey an infestation. The annual data was used to generate risk for a given year and to compare the ratings with survey data from the subsequent year. Under epidemic conditions, 30% to 43% of the stands rated as high risk were subsequently infested. Of the infested stands, 72% to 76% had a high risk rating. In general, the risk rating system accurately predicted risk in stands that were infested, but not all high risk stands were subsequently attacked. This highlights the difficulty of modeling processes that have a stochastic component. For operational contexts, the estimation of risk on an annual basis is sufficiently reliable to aid in the strategic planning of forest managers.

Keywords: Decision support; Dendroctonus ponderosae; epidemic; forest damage; global positioning systems; mountain pine beetle; risk rating; survey

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Canadian Forest Service (Natural Resources Canada), Victoria, British Columbia V8Z 1M5, Canada; 2: Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5, Canada; 3: Canadian Forest Service (Natural Resources Canada), Victoria, British Columbia V8Z 1M5, Canada.

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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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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