Forest disturbance reconstructions provide a valuable record of factors leading up to change or stabilization in forest stands. Reconstructions in Colorado usually focus on fire effects, although a few have recorded beetle disturbances.
Research and discussions on bark beetle disturbances generally center on losses and other detrimental effects to forest ecosystems. This research focuses on impacts to forest structure following bark beetle disturbance and how climate can influence this outcome. Examining the evidence left by bark beetle disturbance and understanding interactions between insect disturbances and climate events may help guide management of post-disturbance forests.
Existing wood sample records will be re-examined to determine contribution of bark beetles to their mortality.
Pre and post-disturbance tree structure vigor will be rated against climate and stand structure factors.
Resulting research will provide evidence on the effects of bark beetle disturbance in context to their response to climatic events.