Canadian Forest Service Publications
Monitoring the impacts of mountain pine beetle mitigation. 2009. Wulder, M.A.; Ortlepp, S.M.; White, J.C.; Coops, N.C.; Coggins, S.B. Forestry Ecology and Management 258(7): 1181-1187.
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 30064
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Since 1999, the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopk. [Coleoptera: Scolytidae]) has impacted over 13 million hectares of pine forests in western Canada. Successful mitigation of the beetle depends on the accurate and timely identification of currently infested trees and on sustained control activities over several successive years. We monitored the success of mitigation activities in reducing damage caused by mountain pine beetle at two sites (A and B) on the leading edge of the current beetle epidemic in western Canada. Using three years of digital high spatial resolution aerial imagery (2006– 2008) and one season of field measurements (2008), we estimated retrospective ratios of trees attacked by beetle in the current year (green attack) to trees attacked in the previous year (red attack), hereafter referred to as G:R. Our results indicate that mitigation activities slowed the rate of population growth, with G:R found to be decreasing or stable over sites A and B while mitigation was ongoing in 2005 and 2006 (site A 1.06:1; site B 0.32:1). When mitigation was discontinued over site A in 2007, the G:R increased markedly (1.94:1), while continued mitigation at site B in 2007 further reduced the G:R (0.22:1). Despite the cost associated with mitigation, its efficacy is rarely assessed and even more rarely documented. The approach presented herein enables a sample-based appraisal of mitigation efforts.