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Simulation of net ecosystem productivity of a lodgepole pine forest after mountain pine beetle attack using a modified version of 3-PG

Author(s): Gesa Meyer, T. Andrew Black, Rachhpal S. Jassal, Zoran Nesic, Nicholas C. Coops, Andreas Christen, Arthur L. Fredeen, David L. Spittlehouse, Nicholas J. Grant, Vanessa N. Foord, Rebecca Bowler
Year Published: 2018

The most recent mountain pine beetle (MPB) (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreak in British Columbia (BC), which began in the late 1990s, killed ∼54% of the mature merchantable lodgepole pine and was expected to impact gross primary productivity (GPP), ecosystem respiration (R) and thus net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of infested stands. Eddy-covariance (EC) measurements of carbon dioxide and water vapor fluxes have been made in an almost single-species not-salvage-harvested lodgepole pine stand in northern interior BC during the decade following beetle attack in 2006 to determine the effects on the carbon (C) and water balances. We modified the 3-PG (Physiological Principles in Predicting Growth) model to simulate the effects of MPB attack on the stand. Modifications included a sub-model for heterotrophic respiration, which originates from the decomposition of two substrates, soil organic matter and coarse woody debris from the falling dead trees, thus permitting the determination of R and NEP. The modified model was used to simulate C balance components using model parameter values mostly taken from the literature with some estimated from in-situ measurements. Modelled monthly and annual stand-level GPP, R and NEP agreed well with respective EC-estimated values during the decade following attack. Modelled annual GPP, R and NEP decreased by about 52%, 35% and 126%, respectively, in the first year following attack compared to pre-attack values. Modelled GPP and R, as well as ECestimated GPP, showed a relatively steady increase over the following decade, while R derived from the EC measurements changed little in the first eight years after attack and then increased in the last two years. ECestimated GPP in 2016 exceeded the estimated pre-attack value by 9%, while modelled and EC-estimated R in 2016 exceeded 2005 values by 6% and 15%, respectively. Modelled NEP indicated that the recovering stand became a C sink a year later than indicated by the EC measurements, but both modelled and measured annual NEP increased significantly between 2007 and 2016. Our observations and modelling results show that the remaining trees and the growing understory enabled the not-salvage-harvested stand to recover from insect attack within a decade, with the stand functioning as a weak, yet distinct, C sink in the last two years of the study period. This suggests that the management strategy of not harvesting attacked stands can be beneficial for the C balance of attacked stands with similar characteristics and in similar climates.

Citation: Meyer G, Black TA, Jassal RS, Nesic Z, Coops NC, Christen A, Fredeen AL, Spittlehouse DL, Grant NJ, Foord VN, Bowler R. 2018. Simulation of net ecosystem productivity of a lodgepole pine forest after mountain pine beetle attack using a modified version of 3-PG. Forest Ecology and Management 412 (2018) 41–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2018.01.034
Topic(s): Fire Ecology, Insects & Disease, Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Wildlife, Fire & Wildlife, Invertebrates, Mountain pine beetles
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 17169
Record updated: Mar 27, 2018