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Effects of Invasive Winter Moth Defoliation on Tree Radial Growth in Eastern Massachusetts, USA

1
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of New Hampshire, 114 James Hall, Durham, NH 03824, USA
2
Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts, 310 Agricultural Engineering Building, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
3
USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry, 271 Mast Road, Durham, NH 03824, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2014, 5(2), 301-318; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects5020301
Received: 20 January 2014 / Revised: 12 March 2014 / Accepted: 20 March 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
Winter moth, Operophtera brumata L. (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), has been defoliating hardwood trees in eastern Massachusetts since the 1990s. Native to Europe, winter moth has also been detected in Rhode Island, Connecticut, eastern Long Island (NY), New Hampshire, and Maine. Individual tree impacts of winter moth defoliation in New England are currently unknown. Using dendroecological techniques, this study related annual radial growth of individual host (Quercus spp. and Acer spp.) trees to detailed defoliation estimates. Winter moth defoliation was associated with up to a 47% reduction in annual radial growth of Quercus trees. Latewood production of Quercus was reduced by up to 67% in the same year as defoliation, while earlywood production was reduced by up to 24% in the year following defoliation. Winter moth defoliation was not a strong predictor of radial growth in Acer species. This study is the first to document impacts of novel invasions of winter moth into New England. View Full-Text
Keywords: Operophtera brumata; exotic species; dendroecology; Quercus rubra Operophtera brumata; exotic species; dendroecology; Quercus rubra
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Simmons, M.J.; Lee, T.D.; Ducey, M.J.; Elkinton, J.S.; Boettner, G.H.; Dodds, K.J. Effects of Invasive Winter Moth Defoliation on Tree Radial Growth in Eastern Massachusetts, USA. Insects 2014, 5, 301-318.

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