Effects of fire return rates on traversability of lodgepole pine forests for mountain pine beetle: implications for sustainable forest management

Publication Type:Journal Article
Authors:H. J. Barclay, Schivatcheva, T., Li, C., Benson, L.
Journal:British Columbia Journal of Ecosystems and Management
Date Published:Fall
:1488-4666; 1488-4674

The spread of mountain pine beetle (MPB) depends on climate, weather, and topography, among other factors. In predicting the spread of the MPB in British Columbia, foresters should speciically consider the susceptibility and traversability of lodgepole pine forests to MPB. In order for beetle infestations to spread through the forests at endemic or incipient beetle population levels, patches of susceptible forest must exist, and these patches must be close enough together that beetles can disperse from one to another. his study determined stand susceptibility by examining simulated efects of ire return rates on the equilibrium age structure of a 1 million ha lodgepole pine forest, and then using the results to generate mosaics of susceptibilities to MPB attack. At the landscape level, "traversability" describes the condition of a forest that allows an incipient beetle population to disperse across it according to deined rules of susceptibility and maximum distance for dispersal through unsuitable habitat. We found that: (1) long ire cycles and ire suppression yielded an age structure that is highly susceptible to beetle attack; and (2) harvesting reduced the mean susceptibility to MPB attack as well as traversability. A combination of early harvesting and moderate ire suppression would theoretically yield an equilibrium forest structure that minimizes both susceptibility and traversability for MPB.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith