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Forests 2014, 5(12), 3131-3146; doi:10.3390/f5123131

Douglas-Fir Tussock Moth- and Douglas-Fir Beetle-Caused Mortality in a Ponderosa Pine/Douglas-Fir Forest in the Colorado Front Range, USA

1
Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 240 West Prospect, Fort Collins, CO 80525, USA
2
Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 1215 E Lowell St., Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
3
Forest Health Protection, USDA Forest Service, Region 6, Southwest Oregon Service Center, J.H. Stone Nursery, 2606 Old Stage Road, Central Point, OR 95702, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 May 2014 / Revised: 3 December 2014 / Accepted: 4 December 2014 / Published: 12 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Bark Beetles and Forests)
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Abstract

An outbreak of the Douglas-fir tussock moth, Orgyia pseudotsugata McDunnough, occurred in the South Platte River drainage on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest in the Colorado Front Range attacking Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco. Stocking levels, species composition, and tree size in heavily and lightly defoliated stands were similar. Douglas-fir tussock moth defoliation resulted in significant Douglas-fir mortality in the heavily defoliated stands, leading to a change in dominance to ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa Lawson. Douglas-fir beetle, Dendroctonus pseudotsuqae Hopkins, populations increased following the defoliation event but caused less mortality, and did not differ between heavily and lightly defoliated stands. Douglas-fir tussock moth-related mortality was greatest in trees less than 15 cm dbh (diameter at 1.4 m above the ground) that grew in suppressed and intermediate canopy positions. Douglas-fir beetle-related mortality was greatest in trees larger than 15 cm dbh that grew in the dominant and co-dominant crown positions. Although both insects utilize Douglas-fir as its primary host, stand response to infestation is different. The extensive outbreak of the Douglas-fir tussock moth followed by Douglas-fir beetle activity may be associated with a legacy of increased host type growing in overstocked conditions as a result of fire exclusion. View Full-Text
Keywords: Orgyia pseudotsugata; Dendroctonus pseudotsugae; douglas-fir tussock moth; douglas-fir beetle; forest insects; defoliators; bark beetles Orgyia pseudotsugata; Dendroctonus pseudotsugae; douglas-fir tussock moth; douglas-fir beetle; forest insects; defoliators; bark beetles
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Negrón, J.F.; Lynch, A.M.; Schaupp, W.C., Jr.; Mercado, J.E. Douglas-Fir Tussock Moth- and Douglas-Fir Beetle-Caused Mortality in a Ponderosa Pine/Douglas-Fir Forest in the Colorado Front Range, USA. Forests 2014, 5, 3131-3146.

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