Canadian Forest Service Publications

Using reconstructed outbreak histories of mountain pine beetle, fire and climate to predict the risk of future outbreaks. 2008. Lewis, K.J.; Hrinkevich, K. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, BC. Mountain Pine Beetle Working Paper 2008-16. 10 p.

Year: 2008

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29045

Language: English

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

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

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The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) is a native bark beetle of forests in BC, and there is documented evidence of outbreaks dating back to 1910. The current outbreak is substantially larger than past documented outbreaks, but the temporal scale of landscape-level forest change is much longer than the limited scope of recorded history. It is possible that the scale of management-induced changes to forest structure through fire suppression and forestry practices, and the mounting evidence of a changing climate, have contributed to an outbreak that is well outside the natural range of variation. The purpose of this project is to determine the magnitude and synchrony of historical beetle outbreaks in sub-boreal forests of central BC, and to relate those with climate factors and changes in fire regimes. Our focus is on the north-central part of BC, in areas that in the past have been less conducive to large scale mountain pine beetle outbreaks and less influenced by fire suppression, to determine whether or not the current outbreak in this area is due to the enormous population build-up alone, or whether changes in climate and/or fire regime have played a role. Using dendroecological methods, we have successfully reconstructed multiple mountain pine beetle outbreaks and calibrated our detection methods based on historical survey information. Our investigation of climate/outbreak relationships is underway and suggests that the timing of outbreaks in this area can be linked to periods of favourable climate for mountain pine beetle population growth.