UBC Undergraduate Research

Impacts of climate chanage on spruce beetles and mountain pine beetles : similarites, differences, and analysis of forest management techniques Shi, Yue

Abstract

Mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) are two primary bark beetles found in Western North America. Extraordinary outbreaks have occurred in both species populations which have resulted in significant forest mortality over the last two decades. Compared with historical eruptions, the recent outbreaks are considered to be a consequence of climate change. The rise in temperature, precipitation, and extreme weather events has affected the phenology of both insects and hosts. The two beetle species have been affected in diverse ways by climate change. The mountain pine beetle has been predominately affected by their range expansion through invasion into an increasing number of climatically suitable habitats, while the spruce beetle has been affected by an increase in the probability of the univoltine population within its host’s range. Regardless of these different mechanisms, climate change has resulted in a similar growth trend in the two species populations, thus leading to intensive biotic disturbances in north-western forests. Due to a conglomeration of uncertainties and challenges in forest management options, immediate direct or indirect intervention is required in the infested area to conserve valuable forest resources.

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