Influence of Global Warming on Forest Coleopteran Communities with Special Reference to Ambrosia and Bark Beetles


Won IL Choi

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Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology

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Forest insect pests are one of the major disturbance factors in forest ecosystems and their outbreaks are expected to be more severe under the influence of global warming. Coleopterans are dominant among forest insects and their ecological functions include general detritivores, dead wood feeders, fungivores, herbivores, live wood feeders and predators. Ambrosia and bark beetles contribute to ecological succession of forests and, therefore, ecological functions of forests can be changed in response to their outbreaks. Mountain pine beetle (MPB) outbreaks are the most dramatic example of changes in the ecological functions of forest due to the outbreak of a forest insect pest altered by global warming. Composition of coleopteran species varies with latitude. However, composition of functional groups is consistent with latitude which indicates that resources available to beetles are consistent. In coleopteran communities, ambrosia and bark beetles can become dominant due to increases of dead or stressed trees due to the warming climate. This can also induce changes in the ecological functions of coleopterans, i.e. selective force to displace trees that have lower ecological fitness due to temperature increase. Therefore, recent increases in the density ambrosia and bark beetles offer a chance to study ecological processes in forests under the influence of global warming.