Occurrence of spruce bark beetles in forest stands at different levels of air pollution stress

Wojciech Grodzki, Michael McManus, Milos Knízek, Valentina Meshkova, Vasile Mihalciuc, Julius Novotny, Marek Turcani, Yaroslav Slobodyan
Environmental Pollution 2004, 130 (1): 73-83
The spruce bark beetle, Ips typographus (L.) is the most serious pest of mature spruce stands, mainly Norway spruce, Picea abies (L.) Karst. throughout Eurasia. A complex of weather-related events and other environmental stresses are reported to predispose spruce stands to bark beetle attack and subsequent tree mortality; however the possible role of industrial pollution as a predisposing factor to attack by this species is poorly understood. The abundance and dynamics of I. typographus populations was evaluated in 60-80 year old Norway spruce stands occurring on 10 x 50 ha sites in five countries within the Carpathian range that were selected in proximity to established ozone measurement sites. Data were recorded on several parameters including the volume of infested trees, captures of adult beetles in pheromone traps, number of attacks, and the presence and relative abundance of associated bark beetle species. In several cases, stands adjacent to sites with higher ozone values were associated with higher bark beetle populations. The volume of sanitary cuttings, a reflection of tree mortality, and the mean daily capture of beetles in pheromone traps were significantly higher at sites where the O(3) level was higher. However, the mean infestation density on trees was higher in plots associated with lower O(3) levels. Captures of beetles in pheromone traps and infestation densities were higher in the zone above 800 m. However, none of the relationships was conclusive, suggesting that spruce bark beetle dynamics are driven by a complex interaction of biotic and abiotic factors and not by a single parameter such as air pollution.

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