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Open AccessArticle

Potential Solar Radiation as a Driver for Bark Beetle Infestation on a Landscape Scale

Institute of Forest Ecology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, 960 53 Zvolen, Slovakia
Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland
Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen, 960 01 Zvolen, Slovakia
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Aalborg University, 9220 Aalborg, Denmark
EXTEMIT-K, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Praha 165 00, Czech Republic
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(7), 604;
Received: 28 May 2019 / Revised: 6 July 2019 / Accepted: 18 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
PDF [2015 KB, uploaded 23 July 2019]


In recent decades, Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) forests of the High Tatra Mountains have suffered unprecedented tree mortality caused by European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus L.). Analysis of the spatiotemporal pattern of bark beetle outbreaks across the landscape in consecutive years can provide new insights into the population dynamics of tree-killing insects. A bark beetle outbreak occurred in the High Tatra Mountains after a storm damaged more than 10,000 ha of forests in 2004. We combined yearly Landsat-derived bark beetle infestation spots from 2006 to 2014 and meteorological data to identify the susceptibility of forest stands to beetle infestation. We found that digital elevation model (DEM)-derived potential radiation loads predicted beetle infestation, especially in the peak phase of beetle epidemic. Moreover, spots attacked at the beginning of our study period had higher values of received solar radiation than spots at the end of the study period, indicating that bark beetles prefer sites with higher insolation during outbreak. We conclude that solar radiation, easily determined from the DEM, better identified beetle infestations than commonly used meteorological variables. We recommend including potential solar radiation in beetle infestation prediction models. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ips typographus; national park; Picea abies; High Tatra Mountains; solar radiation Ips typographus; national park; Picea abies; High Tatra Mountains; solar radiation

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Mezei, P.; Potterf, M.; Škvarenina, J.; Rasmussen, J.G.; Jakuš, R. Potential Solar Radiation as a Driver for Bark Beetle Infestation on a Landscape Scale. Forests 2019, 10, 604.

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