Canadian Forest Service Publications
Impact and recovery of western hemlock following disturbances by forestry and insect defoliation. 2010. Nealis, V.G.; Turnquist, R. Forest Ecology and Management 260(5): 699-706.
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 31761
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Impact and recovery of juvenile western hemlock stands were measured 5 years after the end of an outbreak of western blackheaded budworm Acleris gloverana (Walsingham) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) and hemlock sawfly Neodiprion tsugae Middleton (Hymenoptera: Diprionidae) on Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada. Overall, whole-tree mortality was infrequent (3.6–6.8%) but aggregated in a few, severely defoliated stands. Top-kill of the apical leader of surviving trees was more frequent (7.2–22.1%) and many of these trees had not recovered a growing dominant leader 5 years after the original damage. These severe impacts were most common in the largest trees in the youngest stands which had been spaced just before the outbreak. Radial growth was also reduced for 2 years following defoliation. However, mean annual ring width and basal area increment in surviving trees recovered quickly and was even enhanced in post-defoliation stands, particularly in spaced stands that had been moderately defoliated. Management recommendations include planning for likely outbreaks by avoiding creation of expanses of young regenerating stands of western hemlock during harvest and modifying spacing treatments when an insect outbreak is imminent to reflect the greater risk to trees <20 years of age.