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Post-harvest seedling recruitment following mountain pine beetle infestation of Colorado lodgepole pine stands: A comparison using historic survey records

Posted date: June 27, 2011
Publication Year: 
2010
Authors: Collins, Byron J.; Rhoades, Charles C.; Underhill, Jeffrey; Hubbard, Robert M.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 40: 2452-2456.

Abstract

The extent and severity of overstory lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm. ex Wats.) mortality from mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) has created management concerns associated with forest regeneration, wildfire risk, human safety, and scenic, wildlife, and watershed resources in western North America. Owing to the unprecedented nature of the outbreak and associated management in the southern Rocky Mountains, it is unknown if the forests that regenerate after this current period of extensive change will differ from those that regenerated in the past. Here, we compare the density and species composition of post-harvest seedling recruits in pre-outbreak (1980-1996) and outbreak stands (2002-2007). Lodgepole pine accounted for more than 95% of post-harvest seedling recruitment and the density of seedlings colonizing clearcuts was equal during both the pre-outbreak and outbreak periods. Compared with harvested areas, the density of tree regeneration was 75% lower in uncut forests and was more evenly distributed among subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt.) and lodgepole pine. This comparison provides evidence that the density of seedling recruitment will be at least as high after extensive pine beetle caused mortality as under healthy, pre-outbreak conditions and that the species composition of stands regenerating after this outbreak will differ between treated and untreated areas.

Citation

Collins, Byron J.; Rhoades, Charles C.; Underhill, Jeffrey; Hubbard, Robert M. 2010. Post-harvest seedling recruitment following mountain pine beetle infestation of Colorado lodgepole pine stands: A comparison using historic survey records. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 40: 2452-2456.