Role of the Mountain Pine Beetle in Lodgepole Pine Ecosystems : Impact on Succession


G D. Amman

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Journal/Book Title/Conference

The Role of Arthropods in Forest Ecosystem

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



The mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae (Coleoptera : Scolytidae), is the most aggressive member of its genus in the western United States. Populations of the beetle periodically build up and kill most of the large dominant lodgepole pines, Pinus contorta var. latifolia, over vast acreages. The beetle is indigenous to North America and probably has been active in lodgepole pine ecosystems almost as long as lodgepole pine has existed. Frequency of infestations in a given area of forest appears to range from about 20 to 40 years, depending upon how rapidly some trees in the stand grow to large diameter and produce thick phloem, conditions conducive to buildup of beetle populations. In addition, trees must be at a latitude and elevation where temperatures are favorable for beetle development.


This item was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.