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Forests 2015, 6(10), 3483-3500; doi:10.3390/f6103483

Impact of a Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak on Young Lodgepole Pine Stands in Central British Columbia

1
Mixedwood Ecology and Management Program, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9, Canada
2
Earth & Environmental Sciences and Physical Geography, University of British Columbia, 1177 Research Road, Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7, Canada
3
Yukon Research Centre, Yukon College, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 5K4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jan Stenlid, Jonas Oliva and Audrius Menkis
Received: 25 June 2015 / Revised: 18 September 2015 / Accepted: 28 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [601 KB, uploaded 30 September 2015]   |  

Abstract

The current mountain pine beetle (MPB) (Dendroctonous ponderosae Hopkins) epidemic has severely affected pine forests of Western Canada and killed millions of hectares of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. var. latifolia Engelm.) forest. Generally, MPB attack larger and older (diameter > 20 cm or >60 years of age) trees, but the current epidemic extends this limit with attacks on even younger and smaller trees. The study’s aim was to investigate the extent of MPB attack in young pine stands and its possible impact on stand dynamics. Although MPB attacks were observed in trees as small as 7.5 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) and as young as 13 years old, the degree of MPB attack (percent stems ha−1) increased with increasing tree diameter and age class (13–20, 21–40, 41–60, and 61–80 years old) (6.4%, 49.4%, 62.6%, and 69.5% attack, respectively, by age class) which is greater than that reported from previous epidemics for stands of this age. The mean density of surviving residual structure varied widely among age classes and ecological subzones. Depending on age class, 65% to 77% of the attacked stands could contribute to mid-term timber supply. The surviving residual structure of young stands offers an opportunity to mitigate the effects of MPB-attack on future timber supply, increase age class diversity, and enhance ecological resilience in younger stands. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecological zone; lodgepole pine; mid-term timber supply; mountain pine beetle; residual trees; stocking ecological zone; lodgepole pine; mid-term timber supply; mountain pine beetle; residual trees; stocking
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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

Dhar, A.; Balliet, N.A.; Runzer, K.D.; Hawkins, C.D.B. Impact of a Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak on Young Lodgepole Pine Stands in Central British Columbia. Forests 2015, 6, 3483-3500.

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