Radial Growth Losses in Douglas-Fir and White Fir Caused by Western Spruce Budworm in Northern New Mexico: 1700-1983
AuthorSwetnam, Thomas W.
AffiliationLaboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona
KeywordsWestern spruce budworm -- New Mexico -- Carson National Forest -- History.
Douglas fir -- New Mexico -- Carson National Forest -- Growth.
Abies concolor -- New Mexico -- Carson National Forest -- Growth.
Douglas fir -- Losses -- New Mexico -- Carson National Forest.
Abies concolor -- Losses -- New Mexico -- Carson National Forest.
Douglas fir -- New Mexico -- Carson National Forest -- Growth -- Statistics.
Abies concolor -- New Mexico -- Carson National Forest -- Growth -- Statistics.
Douglas fir -- Losses -- New Mexico -- Carson National Forest -- Statistics.
Abies concolor -- Losses -- New Mexico -- Carson National Forest -- Statistics.
MetadataShow full item record
DescriptionFinal Report / Contract on 43-8371-4-628 / For: USDA, Forest Service, Southwestern Region
AbstractRegional outbreaks of western spruce budworms (Choristoneura occidentalis Freeman) have recurred at least three times in northern New Mexico since the early 1920's when the U. S. Forest Service first began systematic forest-pest surveys and documentation (Lessard 1975, U. S. Forest Service documents). The current outbreak was first noticed in a small area on the Taos Indian Reservation in 1974, and since then the defoliated areas have increased in New Mexico and Arizona to more than 370,000 acres of Federal, Indian, State and private lands (Linnane 1984). Losses in timber values can generally be ascribed to radial growth loss, height growth loss, topkilling, reduced regeneration, and mortality (Carlson et al. 1983, Fellin et al. 1983). A damage assessment project was initiated in 1978 and was aimed at obtaining measurements of some of these losses in budworm infested stands on the Carson National Forest, New Mexico (Holland and Lessard 1979). A large data base has subsequently been developed, including yearly measurements on topkilling, mortality, defoliation, and insect population changes (Stein 1980, 1981, Stein and McDonnell 1982, Rogers 1984). A growth assessment study was undertaken in 1982 to determine the feasibility of using dendrochronological methods to identify the timing of past outbreaks and to quantify radial growth losses associated with budworm defoliation (Swetnam 1984). Results of this work showed that three major outbreaks during the twentieth century were clearly visible in the tree-ring samples obtained from currently infested trees. The radial growth of host trees was corrected for age, climate and other non-budworm environmental effects, and then growth losses were computed as a percentage of expected growth (Swetnam 1984). Additional collections were obtained in 1984 in order to expand the scope of the radial growth study. The objectives included 1) assessment of a larger number of tree -ring samples, 2) comparison of radial growth losses between the two primary host species - Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and white fir (Abies concolor), 3) comparison of radial growth losses between age classes, and 4) analysis of the relationship between yearly measurements of defoliation, insect populations and radial growth. This report summarizes the findings of the above analyses. Increment core samples from the 1982 collections are included here, therefore this report supersedes the earlier report (Swetnam 1984). Information is also presented on observations derived from the dated tree-ring series on the timing of occurrence of known and inferred spruce budworm outbreaks for the past 284 years (1700- 1983). This is the longest record of spruce budworm occurrence yet developed for western North America.
SponsorsU.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region Forest Pest Management, and the Canada United States Spruce Budworms research program, Contracts ON 43-8371-3-425, and ON 43-8371-4-628.
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Linking old-growth forest composition, structure, fire history, climate and land-use in the mountains of northern MéxicoCortés Montaño, Citlali; Fulé, Peter Z.; Falk, Donald A.; Villanueva-Díaz, José; Yocom, Larissa L.; School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona (Wiley, 2012-11)Old-growth forests are biologically and ecologically valuable systems that are disappearing worldwide at a rapid rate. México still holds large areas covered by temperate forests in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental, but few of these retain old-growth characteristics. We studied four sites with remnant old-growth forests in Mesa de las Guacamayas, a site in the Sierra Madre Occidental in northwestern Chihuahua, to assess their composition, structure, and age characteristics. Overstory tree densities and basal areas at each site were based on measurements of all trees >1.3 m tall. The overstory was dominated by large Pinus durangensis, P. strobiformis, and Pseudotsuga menziesii (270–335 trees ha−1, basal area 24–42 m2 ha−1), with a subcanopy formed mostly of oaks. This species composition, combined with the lack of vertical structural development, and thus of fuel ladders, suggests that these forests are relatively resistant to severe wildfire. We evaluated forest attributes in the context of local fire regimes and regional climatic patterns, and found that frequent disturbance by surface fires has been part of the study sites' histories for at least 250 years. While climate was a driver of fire regimes historically in this mountain range, humans appear to have played a role in interruptions of the fire regime in the second half of the 20th century. Age distributions showed recruitment to the canopy over ∼250 years, while fires in the four sites recurred every 6–12 years. Temporary interruption of the fire regime in the mid-20th century at three sites was associated with increased tree establishment, especially by broadleaved species. One site had an uninterrupted fire regime and showed continuous tree establishment, consistent with the self-reinforcing role of frequent fire in regulating live and dead fuel loads. Remnant old-growth forests such as those we sampled are becoming increasingly rare in the Sierra Madre Occidental. The biodiversity and ecological processes that they support are highly threatened and their conservation must be made a priority in the U.S.-México borderlands.