Abstract: Mechanical thinning and the application of prescribed fire are commonly used to restore fire-adapted forest ecosystems in the Western United States. During a 10-year period, we monitored the effects of fuel-reduction and forest-restoration treatments on levels of tree mortality in an interior ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws., forest in California. Twelve experimental plots, ranging in size from 77–144 ha, were established to create two distinct forest structural types: mid-seral stage (low structural diversity; LoD) and late-seral stage (high structural diversity; HiD). Following harvesting, half of each plot was treated with prescribed fire (B). A total of 16,473 trees (8.7% of all trees) died during the 10-year period. Mortality was primarily attributed to bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) (10,655 trees), specifically fir engraver, Scolytus ventralis LeConte, mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, western pine beetle, D. brevicomis LeConte, pine engraver, Ips pini (Say), and, to a much lesser extent, Jeffrey pine beetle, D. jeffreyi Hopkins. Trees of all ages and size classes were killed, but mortality was concentrated in the smaller-diameter classes (19–29.2 and 29.3–39.3 cm at 1.37 m in height). Most mortality occurred three to five years following prescribed burns. Higher levels of bark beetle-caused tree mortality were observed on LoD + B (8.7%) than LoD (4.2%). The application of these and other results to the management of interior P. ponderosa forests are discussed, with an emphasis on the maintenance of large trees.
Keywords: Abies concolor; Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest; Dendroctonus; Ips; Pinus jeffreyi; Pinus ponderosa; Scolytus
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Fettig, C.J.; McKelvey, S.R. Resiliency of an Interior Ponderosa Pine Forest to Bark Beetle Infestations Following Fuel-Reduction and Forest-Restoration Treatments. Forests 2014, 5, 153-176.
Fettig CJ, McKelvey SR. Resiliency of an Interior Ponderosa Pine Forest to Bark Beetle Infestations Following Fuel-Reduction and Forest-Restoration Treatments. Forests. 2014; 5(1):153-176.
Fettig, Christopher J.; McKelvey, Stephen R. 2014. "Resiliency of an Interior Ponderosa Pine Forest to Bark Beetle Infestations Following Fuel-Reduction and Forest-Restoration Treatments." Forests 5, no. 1: 153-176.