Evaluation of multiple funnel traps and stand characteristics for estimating western pine beetle-caused tree mortality

Christopher J Hayes, Christopher J Fettig, Laura D Merrill
Journal of Economic Entomology 2009, 102 (6): 2170-82
The western pine beetle, Dendroctonus brevicomis LeConte (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae), is a major cause of ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws., mortality in much of western North America. This study was designed to quantify relationships between western pine beetle trap catches [including those of its primary invertebrate predator Temnochila chlorodia (Mannerheim) (Coleoptera: Trogositidae)], and levels of tree mortality attributed to western pine beetle at 44 trapping sites (stands) and within five general locations (forests) in California. Furthermore, we evaluated relationships between forest stand characteristics and levels of western pine beetle-caused tree mortality. Preliminary analyses were conducted by Pearson's correlation coefficient (r) using tree mortality per hectare and percentage of tree mortality and 10 potential predictor variables. All predictor variables that had significant correlations (western pine beetle per day, western pine beetle: T. chlorodia, percentage of western pine beetle [percentage of total trap catch represented by western pine beetle], trees per hectare, basal area of all tree species, basal area of P. ponderosa, mean diameter at breast height [dbh] and stand density index) were considered for linear and multiple linear regression models for predicting levels of western pine beetle-caused tree mortality. Our results suggest monitoring western pine beetle populations through the use of pheromone-baited multiple funnel traps is not an effective means of predicting levels of western pine beetle-caused tree mortality. However, levels of western pine beetle-caused tree mortality can be efficiently predicted (adjusted R2 >0.90) at large spatial scales (forests; approximately 3,000-14,000 ha of contiguous host) by simply measuring stand density, specifically the basal area of all tree species or stand density index. The implications of these results to forest management are discussed.

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