Canadian Forest Service Publications

Accuracy of defoliation estimates from aerial and ground surveys in a boreal forest during an outbreak of the Hemlock Looper, Lambdina fiscellaria (Guenée) (2022) Béland, J.-M.; Bauce, É.; Cloutier, C.; Berthiaume, R.; Hébert, C.; Forests, 13 (7), 1120

Year: 2022

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40768

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 3390

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Abstract

Annual estimates of defoliation are important tools for managing forest insect defoliators such as the hemlock looper, which feeds on conifer needles of all age classes. We tested the accuracy of defoliation classes obtained from aerial surveys by comparing them with ground-based estimates during a recent outbreak of this insect. We used an approach derived from the Fettes method to estimate defoliation on the current-year shoots as well as on the shoots of the four previous years. Defoliation on the current-year shoots provided accurate estimates of the overall defoliation and the strength of the relationship gradually decreasing for one-year-old to four-year-old foliage. The aerial survey provided accurate estimates of light and moderate defoliation during the first year of the outbreak, but accuracy was lower for both ends of the defoliation gradient and was much less reliable after the second year of the outbreak. All levels of defoliation were then observed in stands where defoliation had not been detected by an aerial survey. Cumulative defoliation on all age classes of foliage brings a new challenge to crews assigned to aerial survey programs. Ground-level defoliation estimates on the current-year shoots can help appraise the risk of tree mortality in the following year