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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Effect of forest stand type on host plant quality and direct and indirect effects on pine sawfly performance

Bellone, Davide; Bjoerkman, Christer; Schmidt, Axel; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Klapwijk, Maartje J.


Observed lower levels of herbivory in mixed compared with monoculture stands have been hypothesized to depend on top-down forces, through higher predation pressure by natural enemies or through bottom-up mechanisms through plant quality effects on herbivore performance. In this study, we compared the performance measured as host plant induced mortality, cocoon weight, and predation mortality of the European pine sawflyNeodiprion sertifer(Geoffroy) (Hymenoptera, Diprionidae) in mixed and monoculture forest stands. We did not observe a difference in host plant induced mortality, cocoon weight, or predation mortality between mixed and monoculture forest stands. We did find an effect of local conditions around each experimental tree on pine sawfly performance. For example, the nitrogen content of pine needles is negatively affected by the proportion of pine around the experimental tree, which in turn increases the survival of sawfly larvae. The results suggest that local conditions around individual trees are more important for the performance of the European pine sawfly than stand type,i.e.mixed or monoculture plant stands. We conclude that the ongoing trend for diversification within commercial forestry calls for more research where the effects of both bottom-up and top-down effects are studied at several spatial scales.


cocoon weight; herbivore performance; mixed forest; resin acid; secondary metabolites

Published in

Agricultural and Forest Entomology
2021, Volume: 23, number: 2, pages: 163-172
Publisher: WILEY