Canadian Forest Service Publications
Linking aerial survey data of forest insect defoliation and tree ring data to estimate forest level growth losses. 2012. Magnussen, S.; Alfaro, R.I. Dendrochronologia 30(4): 287-294.
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 34165
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Aerial surveys provide valuable information on the scale and severity of defoliation and mortality caused by forest insects. However, methods to estimate the losses in growth using aerial survey data are not available. This study presents a method to link aerial survey data of location and severity of insect defoliation to tree ring series of radial growth in order to quantify potential growth losses due to defoliation. The method includes estimation of potentially confounding effects of climate. As an example we used aerial surveys of hemlock looper defoliation in the Mt. Revelstoke region of British Columbia, and tree ring series of radial growth of 351 western hemlock trees located in 22 plots and exposed to various levels of periodic defoliation. An autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity time-series model (ARCH) of standardized growth indices identified significant direct and lagged effects of climate and defoliation on radial growth between 1930 and 2005. Defoliation effects were statistically significant in all plots (P < 0.05). The variation in both timing and strength of estimated growth reductions varied considerably among plots. During years of observed defoliation the radial growth was reduced by an average of 10%. Growth reductions attributed to defoliation were most pronounced in the second and third year of a looper outbreak. Our modelling approach linked tree ring data to aerial survey data of defoliation through a logistic distance dependent threshold function and affords a quantitative estimation of regional growth losses.