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Mountain pine beetle attack alters the chemistry and flammability of lodgepole pine foliage

Author(s): Wesley G. Page, Michael J. Jenkins, Justin B. Runyon
Year Published: 2012

During periods with epidemic mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) populations in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. var. latifolia Engelm.) forests, large amounts of tree foliage are thought to undergo changes in moisture content and chemistry brought about by tree decline and death. However, many of the presumed changes have yet to be quantified. In this study, we quantified and compared fuel moisture, chemistry, and resulting flammability of bark beetle affected foliage in terms of ignitability, combustibility, consumability, and sustainability at a site in far eastern Idaho, USA. Results revealed substantial decreases in moisture content, the proportion of starches and sugars, and crude fat and increases in the proportions of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose in foliage of trees attacked in the previous year (yellow foliage) or more than two years previously (red foliage).

Citation: Page, Wesley G.; Jenkins, Michael J.; Runyon, Justin B. 2012. Mountain pine beetle attack alters the chemistry and flammability of lodgepole pine foliage. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 42(8): 1631-1647.
Topic(s): Fire Ecology, Fire & Bark Beetles
Ecosystem(s): Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Hot Topic(s): Fire & Bark Beetles
NRFSN number: 11488
FRAMES RCS number: 13160
Record updated: Apr 20, 2017