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Long-term efficacy of diameter-limit cutting to reduce mountain pine beetle-caused tree mortality in a lodgepole pine forest

Formally Refereed
Authors: J. C. Vandygriff, E. Hansen, Barbara Bentz, K. K. Allen, G. D. Amman, L. A. Rasmussen
Year: 2015
Type: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5558/tfc2015-074
Source: The Forestry Chronicle. 91(4): 444-456.

Abstract

Mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, is the most significant mortality agent in pine forests of western North America. Silvicultural treatments that reduce the number of susceptible host trees, alter age and size class distributions, and diversify species composition are considered viable, long-term options for reducing stand susceptibility to mountain pine beetle-caused tree mortality. Short-term efficacy of thinning treatments has been evaluated, but long-term efficacy has not. We evaluated mountain pine beetle-caused lodgepole pine mortality in 2008, ~28 years after diameter-limit cutting from above that removed the largest diameter lodgepole pines in a Wyoming, USA forest. Following extensive recent mountain pine beetle activity, the partially-cut stands had significantly less mountain pine beetle-caused tree mortality compared to untreated reference stands. These results are similar to observations five years post-treatment, albeit using different reference stands because the original controls were lost to timber harvest. The original management objective was reduced mountain pine beetle-caused tree mortality, and this objective was achieved, lasting for up to 28 years. Despite the reduced mortality among partially-cut stands, however, untreated and treated stands had similar densities of residual live mature lodgepole pine and those in untreated stands had larger average diameters.

Keywords

lodgepole pine, Dendroctonus ponderosae, silviculture, vegetation management, thinning

Citation

Vandygriff, J. C.; Hansen, E.; Bentz, B. J.; Allen, K. K.; Amman, G. D.; Rasmussen, L. A. 2015. Long-term efficacy of diameter-limit cutting to reduce mountain pine beetle-caused tree mortality in a lodgepole pine forest. The Forestry Chronicle. 91(4): 444-456.
Citations
https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/treesearch/50474