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Fire-injured ponderosa pine provide a pulsed resource for bark beetles

Author(s): Ryan S. Davis, Sharon M. Hood, Barbara J. Bentz
Year Published: 2012

Bark beetles can cause substantial mortality of trees that would otherwise survive fire injuries. Resin response of fire-injured northern Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex P. Lawson & C. Lawson) and specific injuries that contribute to increased bark beetle attack susceptibility and brood production are unknown. We monitored ponderosa pine mortality and resin flow and bark beetle colonization and reproduction following a prescribed fire in Idaho and a wildfire in Montana. The level of fire-caused tree injury differed between the two sites, and the level of tree injury most susceptible to bark beetle attack and colonization also differed. Strip-attacked trees alive 3 years post-fire had lower levels of bole and crown injury than trees mass attacked and killed by bark beetles, suggesting that fire-injured trees were less well defended. Brood production of western pine beetle (Dendroctonus brevicomis LeConte) did not differ between fire-injured and uninjured trees, although mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) brood production was low in both tree types, potentially due to competition with faster developing bark beetle species that also colonized trees. Despite a large number of live trees remaining at both sites, bark beetle response to fire-injured trees pulsed and receded within 2 years post-fire, potentially due to a limited number of trees that could be easily colonized.

Citation: Davis, Ryan S.; Hood, Sharon; Bentz, Barbara J. 2012. Fire-injured ponderosa pine provide a pulsed resource for bark beetles. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 42(12): 2022-2036.
Topic(s): Fire Ecology, Insects & Disease, Fire & Bark Beetles, Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Vegetation
Ecosystem(s): Montane dry mixed-conifer forest, Ponderosa pine woodland/savanna
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 8353
FRAMES RCS number: 13443
Record updated: Jun 29, 2016