Event Title

Climate change and forest disturbance: The case of the mountain pine beetle

Presenter Information

Barbara J. Bentz

Location

USU Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

www.restoringthewest.org

Abstract

Forecasts of climate change raise concerns about future modifications to forest ecosystem composition, structure and dynamics. Distributions of some tree species are also predicted to change with alterations in abiotic conditions and possible repercussions to biotic interactions. Native bark beetles in the genus Dendroctonus have historically played important roles in forest ecosystem dynamics through their influence on patterns of tree mortality. Climate change is predicted to influence Dendroctonus populations, thereby affecting community dynamics and succession pathways of forest ecosystems. In susceptible forests, climatic changes influence bark beetle populations directly through effects on beetle physiology, and indirectly through effects on host trees. The direct and indirect influences of temperature and precipitation on population outbreak dynamics is complex, however, and can result in both positive and negative feedbacks to beetle population success. To predict spatial and temporal patterns of future tree mortality, and evaluate future forest resiliency capacity, it is necessary to understand the climate-driven processes that influence beetle population success. I will discuss field, laboratory, and model-derived data that describe physiological processes driving potential response of Dendroctonus ponderosae, the mountain pine beetle, in a changing climate. Connecting models of thermally-driven bark beetle population dynamics and forest ecosystems will also be discussed.

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Oct 17th, 3:30 PM Oct 17th, 4:00 PM

Climate change and forest disturbance: The case of the mountain pine beetle

USU Eccles Conference Center

Forecasts of climate change raise concerns about future modifications to forest ecosystem composition, structure and dynamics. Distributions of some tree species are also predicted to change with alterations in abiotic conditions and possible repercussions to biotic interactions. Native bark beetles in the genus Dendroctonus have historically played important roles in forest ecosystem dynamics through their influence on patterns of tree mortality. Climate change is predicted to influence Dendroctonus populations, thereby affecting community dynamics and succession pathways of forest ecosystems. In susceptible forests, climatic changes influence bark beetle populations directly through effects on beetle physiology, and indirectly through effects on host trees. The direct and indirect influences of temperature and precipitation on population outbreak dynamics is complex, however, and can result in both positive and negative feedbacks to beetle population success. To predict spatial and temporal patterns of future tree mortality, and evaluate future forest resiliency capacity, it is necessary to understand the climate-driven processes that influence beetle population success. I will discuss field, laboratory, and model-derived data that describe physiological processes driving potential response of Dendroctonus ponderosae, the mountain pine beetle, in a changing climate. Connecting models of thermally-driven bark beetle population dynamics and forest ecosystems will also be discussed.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/rtw/2013/October17/2