Monday, December 11, 2006

Prescribed fire and mechanical thinning treatments in red pine in upper Michigan: Initial effects on plant communities, insect pests and shoot blight pathogens

Rita M. Koch, rmkoch@mtu.edu1, Linda M. Haugen, lhaugen@fs.fed.us2, Linda M. Nagel, lmnagel@mtu.edu1, Michael E. Ostry, mostry@fs.fed.us3, and Andrew J. Storer, storer@mtu.edu1. (1) Michigan Technological University, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI, (2) USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Protection, S&PF, 1992 Folwell Avenue, Saint Paul, MN, (3) USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station, 1561 Lindig Street, Saint Paul, MN

Mechanical thinning and prescribed fire treatments were applied in late 2005 and early 2006 to naturally regenerated forests dominated by red pine, Pinus resinosa, in the Muskrat Lakes area of Upper Michigan. Treatment goals included reducing basal area, favoring large trees and favoring white pine, Pinus strobus, in order to move stands towards desired future conditions that included high structural diversity with an increased proportion of white pine. The study design incorporates three blocks of four treatment areas of at least 10 hectares each. Four treatments (mechanical treatment alone, fire alone, a combination of mechanical treatment and prescribed fire and untreated control) were randomly assigned to the four treatment areas in each block. Pre-treatment data were collected to characterize forest conditions in 2004 and 2005. In 2006 post-treatment data were collected to describe the short term effects of the treatments on the overstory trees, understory plant communities, ground dwelling arthropods, and shoot blight pathogens in the genera Sirococcus and Diplodia. In addition, initial damage to the residual stand by fire, red turpentine beetle (Dendroctonus valens), pine engraver (Ips pini) and other damaging agents was evaluated.

Species 1: Coleoptera Curculionidae Dendroctonus valens (red turpentine beetle)
Species 2: Coleoptera Curculionidae Ips pini (pine engraver)