Canadian Forest Service Publications

Characteristics of forest legacies following two mountain pine beetle outbreaks in British Columbia, Canada. 2015. Alfaro, R.I.; vanAkker, L; Hawkes, B. Can. J. For. Res. 45: 1387–1396.

Year: 2015

Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36513

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2015-0042

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Abstract

The mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera, Curculionidae), a native insect of North America, periodically reaches population sizes that cause serious economic impact to the forest industry in western North America. The most recent outbreak in British Columbia (BC), Canada, which began in the late 1990s, is only now (2015) abating, after causing unprecedented tree mortality in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Douglas ex. Loudon) forests. In this paper, we make use of permanent research plots to report on the condition of lodgepole pine forests in the Chilcotin Plateau of central BC, which underwent two fully documented mountain pine beetle outbreaks. In this region, the first outbreak started in the late 1970s and lasted until the mid-1980s; the second outbreak began in the early 2000s and ended in 2010. We measured the impacts of these outbreaks in terms of tree mortality and describe the characteristics of the legacies that remain following these outbreaks, including survivors in various canopy layers and levels of existing and new regeneration. We provide evidence in support of the existence of postdisturbance legacies that classify into five distinct stand structure types. Abundant regeneration and surviving intermediate canopy layers in most stands indicate that management actions to restock pine stands in this area will not likely be necessary. The information provided by this study is important for estimating future forest development and timber supply and for forest planning and management.

Plain Language Summary

The mountain pine beetle, a native insect of North America, periodically reaches population sizes that cause serious economic impact to the forest industry in western North America. The most recent outbreak in British Columbia, Canada, which began in the late 1990s, is only now (2015) abating, caused unprecedented tree mortality in lodgepole pine forests. In this paper, we make use of permanent research plots to report on the condition of lodgepole pine forests in central British Columbia, which underwent two fully documented mountain pine beetle outbreaks. In this region, the first outbreak started in the late 1970s and lasted until the mid-1980s; the second outbreak began in the early 2000s and ended in 2010. We measured the impacts of these outbreaks in terms of tree mortality and describe the characteristics of the legacies that remain following these outbreaks, including survivors in various canopy layers and levels of existing and new regeneration. We provide evidence in support of the existence of post disturbance legacies that classify into five distinct stand structure types, each of which will follow its own development trajectory and will determine the future characteristics of this forest. Abundant regeneration and surviving intermediate canopy layers in most stands in this region indicate that management actions to restock pine stands in this area will not likely be necessary. The information provided by this study is important for estimating future forest development and timber supply and for forest planning and management.

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