Monoterpene Emissions from Bark Beetle Infested Engelmann Spruce Trees

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Atmospheric Environment

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Bark beetle infestation impacts the health of coniferous forests, which are an important source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to the atmosphere. The types and amounts of VOCs emitted from forests can influence secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation and impact overall air quality. In this initial work, the impact of bark beetle infestation on SOA precursors from Engelmann spruce is assessed. The VOCs emitted from the trunk of infested and healthy spruce trees were sampled using both sorbent traps and evacuated canisters that were analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy. The samples from the infested spruce tree suggest a nine-fold enhancement in the total VOC emissions. The dominant VOCs in the infested spruce trees were 3-carene, β-pinene, and α-pinene. The increase observed in VOCs sampled at the trunk of the infested spruce was consistent with increases observed at infested lodgepole pine trunks. However, the types and amounts of VOCs emitted from Engelmann spruce and lodgepole pine are different, which suggests that additional measures of VOC emissions are needed to characterize the impact of bark beetle infestation on VOC emissions and SOA precursors.