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Title: Resiliency of an interior ponderosa pine forest to bark beetle infestations following fuel-reduction and forest-restoration treatments

Author: Fettig, Christopher J; McKelvey, Stephen R.;

Date: 2014

Source: Forests. 5: 153-176

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Mechanical thinning and the application of prescribed fire are commonly used to restore fire-adapted forest ecosystems in the western United States. During a 10-year period, we monitored the effects of fuel-reduction and forest-restoration treatments on levels of tree mortality in an interior ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws., forest in California. Twelve experimental plots, ranging in size from 77-144 ha, were established to create two distinct forest structural types: mid-seral stage (low structural diversity; LoD) and late-seral stage (high structural diversity; HiD). Following harvesting, half of each plot was treated with prescribed fire (B). A total of 16,473 trees (8.7% of all trees) died during the 10-year period. Mortality was primarily attributed to bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) (10,655 trees), specifically fir engraver, Scolytus ventralis LeConte, mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, western pine beetle, D. brevicomis LeConte, pine engraver, Ips pini (Say), and to a much lesser extent Jeffrey pine beetle, D. jeffreyi Hopkins. Trees of all ages and size classes were killed, but mortality was concentrated in the smaller-diameter classes (19−29.2 and 29.3−39.3 cm at 1.37 m in height). Most mortality occurred three to five years following prescribed burns. Higher levels of bark beetle-caused tree mortality were observed on LoD + B (8.7%) than LoD (4.2%). The application of these and other results to the management of interior P. ponderosa forests are discussed, with an emphasis on the maintenance of large trees.

Keywords: Abies concolor, Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest, Dendroctonus, Ips, Pinus jeffreyi, Pinus ponderosa, Scolytus

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Fettig, C.J; McKelvey, S.R. 2014. Resiliency of an interior ponderosa pine forest to bark beetle infestations following fuel-reduction and forest-restoration treatments. Forests. 5: 153-176.


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