Mountain Pine Beetle in Lodgepole Pine Forests

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The mountain pine beetle depletes Rocky Mountain lodgepole stands by removing periodically the largest, most vigorous trees. Some stands are replaced by succeeding species in 80 to 100 years. Intensities of mountain pine beetle and dwarfmistletoe damage are influenced by forest associations and elevation. Dwarfmistletoe infection reduces phloem depth and probably results in lower mountain pine beetle brood production. The probability of lodgepole pine surviving to 16 inches dbh is about 2 out of 3 in the Abies lasiocarpa / Vaccinium scoparium association, but only 1 out of 4 in the Abies lasiocarpa / Pachistima myrsinites association. The latter association offers the greatest risk to lodgepole pine. More effective beetle control and alternatives such as type conversion, shorter rotations, mixing species, and developing better size and age class distribution must be considered.


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