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Reconstructing Past Mountain Pine Beetle Activity Above 3077 m in Northern Colorado
Presented by Ms. Laurie HUCKABY on 15 May 2013 from 18:00 to 21:00
Type: Poster Presentation
Session: Poster Session + Reception
Board #: 28
The current mountain pine beetle (mpb) epidemic has killed lodgepole pines throughout their range in Colorado, including above 3077 m. Prevailing opinion suggests that mpb activity at such high elevation is unprecedented. We selected old stands above 3077 m and examined remnant wood for signs of mpb attack: visible galleries, exit holes, frass, larval galleries and pupal chambers; stems broken 13 to 78 cm above the roots; and blue stain fungi in the sapwood. We collected cross-sections from remnant wood with multiple mpb indicators to obtain death dates, as well as cores from adjacent trees for growth releases coinciding with death dates. At three sites, lodgepole pine stands showed signs of past mpb outbreaks, most recently in the 1940s. These stands have not experienced stand-replacing disturbance in centuries, but have been shaped by patch dynamics, including mpb activity. The resulting stand structures are important to overall landscape heterogeneity, which influences the course of large-scale disturbances.