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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Diameter of lodgepole pine and mortality caused by the mountain pine beetle: factors that influence their relationship and applicability for susceptibility rating

Bjorklund, Niklas; Lindgren, B. Staffan


During outbreaks the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) kills large lodgepole pine trees (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud.) more frequently than smaller ones. There is, however, considerable variation in the relation of diameter to incidence of attack. In a meta-analysis of published data we found that the relationship was primarily determined by geographic location (elevation, latitude, and longitude). We propose a new tree mortality measure, the probability of death index, defined as the average percentage of mortality for trees >23 cm. The index may improve the precision in predictive modeling of tree mortality, as it provides a biologically relevant measure of mortality, since it only includes trees that contribute to the growth of an epidemic and is not influenced by the number of trees within a diameter class. To be useful to forest managers, it must be possible to predict the index from stand parameters that are easily measured. The usefulness of the index was supported by a meta-analysis, which showed that 53% of the variation in the mortality index was explained by geographic location. Tree density did not explain any additional variation. Future research is needed to evaluate the performance of the probability of death index compared with that of other mortality measures.

Published in

Canadian Journal of Forest Research
2009, Volume: 39, number: 5, pages: 908-916
Publisher: NRC Research Press (Canadian Science Publishing)

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

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