Environmental Management

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 875–887 | Cite as

Incorporating Carbon Storage into the Optimal Management of Forest Insect Pests: A Case Study of the Southern Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus Frontalis Zimmerman) in the New Jersey Pinelands

  • Rebecca M. NiemiecEmail author
  • David A. Lutz
  • Richard B. Howarth


Forest insect pest disturbance is increasing in certain areas of North America as many insect species, such as the southern pine beetle, expand their range due to a warming climate. Because insect pests are beginning to occupy forests that are managed for multiple uses and have not been managed for pests before, it is becoming increasingly important to determine how forests should be managed for pests when non-timber ecosystem services are considered in addition to traditional costs and revenues. One example of a service that is increasingly considered in forest management and that may affect forest pest management is carbon sequestration. This manuscript seeks to understand whether the incorporation of forest carbon sequestration into cost-benefit analysis of different forest pest management strategies affects the financially optimal strategy. We examine this question through a case study of the southern pine beetle (SPB) in a new area of SPB expansion, the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve (NJPR). We utilize a forest ecology and economics model and include field data from the NJPR as well as outbreak probability statistics from previous years. We find under the majority of scenarios, incorporating forest carbon sequestration shifts the financially optimal SPB management strategy from preventative thinning toward no management or reactionary management in forest stands in New Jersey. These results contradict the current recommended treatment strategy for SPB and signify that the inclusion of multiple ecosystem services into a cost-benefit analysis may drastically alter which pest management strategy is economically optimal.


Forest pest management Southern pine beetle Carbon sequestration Forest thinning 



The authors would like to thank Mark Borsuk, Matthew P. Ayres, and Carissa Aoki for their contributions to this manuscript. R. Niemiec was supported by funding from the Downey Family Prize in Environmental Studies and the James Dougherty’58 Fund in Environmental Studies. This work was supported in part by the New Hampshire Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) under Award # EPS 1101245 from the National Science Foundation. Additional support was provided by a grant to Dartmouth College from USDA Forest Service (Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and Forest Health Monitoring Program). Special thanks to Lynn Fleming and the New Jersey Forest Service for their cooperation on this project. Additional thanks go to Ann Majchrzak for her support and the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, state foresters, and contractors interviewed who made this work possible.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 42 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca M. Niemiec
    • 1
    Email author
  • David A. Lutz
    • 1
  • Richard B. Howarth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Studies, Environmental Studies ProgramDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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