UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Aftermath of Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak in British Columbia: Stand Dynamics, Management Response and Ecosystem Resilience Dhar, Amalesh; Parrott, Lael; Hawkins, Christopher D.B.

Abstract

The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) (MPB) has infested and killed millions of hectares of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm) forests in British Columbia, Canada, over the past decade. It is now spreading out of its native range into the Canadian boreal forest, with unknown social, economic and ecological consequences. This review explores the ramifications of the MPB epidemic with respect to mid-term timber supply, forest growth, structure and composition, vegetation diversity, forest fire, climate change, and ecosystem resilience. Research confirms that, in British Columbia, all of these variables are more significantly impacted when salvage logging is used as management response to the outbreak. We conclude that appropriate management in response to MPB is essential to ensuring ecologically resilient future forests and reliable mid-term timber supplies for affected human communities. We highlight knowledge gaps and avenues for research to advance our understanding in support of sustainable post-disturbance forest management policies in British Columbia and elsewhere.

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CC BY 4.0

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