Population dynamics and contagion of southern pine beetle infestations
Andrew Birt, email@example.com, Robert Coulson, firstname.lastname@example.org, Maria Tchakerian, email@example.com, Weimin Xi, firstname.lastname@example.org, Richard Feldman, email@example.com, Charles Lafon3, and David Cairns, firstname.lastname@example.org. (1) Texas A&M University, Knowledge Engineering Laboratory, Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, Department of Entomology, College Station, TX, (2) Texas A&M University, Industrial Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, (3) Texas A&M University, Department of Geography, College Station, Department of Entomology, Texas, TX, (4) Texas A&M University, Geography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) is the most destructive pest of southern US pine forests. Outbreaks are unpredictable, occurring at a frequency of between 4 and 10 years. During outbreak years a large number of discrete infestations (spots) occur over broad (county scale) forest landscapes. Each infestation is marked by a discrete cluster of trees that have, or are in the process of being killed by SPB activity. Spots range in size from 10 to many thousands of dead trees. This pattern of forest damage (unpredictability of infestation location and size; potential for massive local tree mortality), plus the long term planning horizons for foresters, makes SPB a difficult pest to manage. In this paper we present work that attempts to link the population dynamics of discrete infestations to the broader scale pattern of SPB pestilence during outbreaks. The factors involved in these investigations (including complex dynamics within infestations and dispersal across broader landscapes) are interesting from an ecological stand point, but also address practical pest management issues. Of particular importance for managing SPB is whether, and to what extent infestations are contagious. In turn, this level of contagion provides insights into more fundamental questions concerning the factors that lead to outbreaks, and the temporal and spatial pattern of infestation occurrence. Using this information, we provide practical guidance for forest managers for how their risk to SPB damage is likely to change over the course of outbreak and non-outbreak years.
Species 1: Coleoptera Curculionidae (Scolytinae) Dendroctonusfrontalis (southern pine beetle)