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Publication Information

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Title: Gypsy moth role in forest ecosystems: the good, the bad, and the indifferent

Author: Muzika, Rose-Marie; Gottschalk, Kurt W.;

Date: 1995

Source: In: L. G. Eskew, comp. Forest health through silviculture: proceedings of the 1995 National Silviculture Workshop, Mescalero, New Mexico, May 8-11, 1995. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-267. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 99-104

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Despite a century of attempts to control populations of the gypsy moth, it remains one of the most destructive forest pests introduced to North America. Research has yielded valuable, albeit sometimes conflicting information about the effects of gypsy moth on forests. Anecdotal accounts and scientific data indicate that impacts of gypsy moth defoliation can range from inconsequential to devastating. When defoliation caused by the gypsy moth results in widespread mortality, successional patterns may be modified substantially and species composition may be altered.The most notable change in Eastern forests is a transition from oak dominated forests to those consisting largely of early successional species. Forest-level changes also modify habitats, thereby influencing populations including but not limited to birds, mammals, and invertebrates; but effects of the gypsy moth seem to be forest-specific and organism-specific. Attempts to limit the influence of gypsy moth defoliation by silvicultural methods appear to have promise in maintaining the overstory and possibly diversifying the understory, but it may be difficult to distinguish the effects of defoliation from the effects of thinning on vegetation as well as invertebrate populations.

Keywords: Lymantria dispar, forest health, ecosystems, forest pests, pest control, defoliation

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Muzika, Rose-Marie; Gottschalk, Kurt W. 1995. Gypsy moth role in forest ecosystems: the good, the bad, and the indifferent. In: L. G. Eskew, comp. Forest health through silviculture: proceedings of the 1995 National Silviculture Workshop, Mescalero, New Mexico, May 8-11, 1995. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-267. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 99-104

 


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