Canadian Forest Service Publications

Decay fungi and associated rates of decay in standing trees killed by mountain pine beetle. 2008. Breuil, C. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria B.C. Mountain Pine Beetle Working Paper 2008-11. 19 p.

Year: 2008

Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28843

Language: English

Series: Mountain Pine Beetle Working Paper (PFC - Victoria)

CFS Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (download)


Due to the mountain pine beetle (MPB) epidemic that has been occurring in BC for the past fifteen years, it is important to accurately identify and characterize the fungal species that may potentially damage wood and decrease its market values. While sapstaining fungi do not affect the structural properties of wood, many basidiomycetes (e.g., decay) also vectored by mountain pine beetles or other secondary beetles (e.g., Ips or ambrosia beetles) have a significant impact on the forest industry in British Columbia. This report focused on the characterization of 40 different basidiomycetous fungi that were isolated form 12 different sites across BC. Fungi were isolated from MPB-infested lodgepole pine trees in green, red, and grey stages from each of the 12 sites. The fungal diversity observed could be attributed to the geographic location, extent of the MPB epidemic in the area, and age and moisture content of the lodgepole pines. The decay fungi were identified and their ability to degrade both sapwood and heartwood was examined using the soil jar decay test. We also established the growth rate and lignolytic activity of the major isolates. Some species caused a significant wood weight loss in three months, indicating that wood structural components (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin) were affected. The data generated could help foresters make more informed decisions regarding which trees should be rapidly harvested after MPB attack and which trees could be left alone for a specified period of time without reducing the wood structural quality. As a result, the forest industry could reduce the economic losses caused by the MPB epidemic. To further support the decisions made with regards to the harvest management of MPB-infected trees, the decay rates of various decay fungi at different moisture contents and temperatures need to be further characterized.

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