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Do fire and insects interact in eastern forests?Author(s): Lynne K. Rieske-Kinney
Source: In: Dickinson, Matthew B., ed. 2006. Fire in eastern oak forests: delivering science to land managers, proceedings of a conference; 2005 November 15-17; Columbus, OH. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-1. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 152-157.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Northern Research Station
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DescriptionThe increasing use of prescribed fire as a management strategy for manipulating forest-species composition generates questions regarding the effects on the arthropod community and the underlying processes in which arthropods play a dominant role, as well as its potential as a pest suppression strategy. Despite the apparent benefits of prescribed burning for manipulating stand composition and enhancing tree vigor, relatively little is known about how fire interacts with arthropod-dependent processes in eastern forest ecosystems. This paper reviews the evidence of direct and indirect interactions between forest arthropods and fire, and addresses the following questions: 1) are soil- and litter-dwelling arthropods irreparably harmed by burning? 2) does prescription burning alter plant susceptibility to insect herbivores? 3) can fire be used as a management strategy to suppress forest arthropod pests? Although soil- and litter-dwelling arthropod abundance is affected by prescribed burning, arthropod diversity and richness are not. Litter arthropod evenness increases in response to burning, most likely due to reductions in mites and collembolans, the two dominant taxa. Fire-induced changes in foliar chemistry often are transient and may be species-specific. These changes are not fully predictable but could alter patterns of insect herbivory. Use of prescribed fire for pest suppression in managed forests has lagged behind that of other managed systems, and it has had limited use for pest suppression in deciduous forests of the Eastern United States. The highly clustered spatial distribution of acorn predators makes effective suppression through prescription burning problematic.
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CitationRieske-Kinney, Lynne K. 2006. Do fire and insects interact in eastern forests?. In: Dickinson, Matthew B., ed. 2006. Fire in eastern oak forests: delivering science to land managers, proceedings of a conference; 2005 November 15-17; Columbus, OH. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-1. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 152-157.
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