Advertisement

Ecosystems

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 643–656 | Cite as

Interactions Among Fuel Management, Species Composition, Bark Beetles, and Climate Change and the Potential Effects on Forests of the Lake Tahoe Basin

  • Robert M. Scheller
  • Alec M. Kretchun
  • E. Louise Loudermilk
  • Matthew D. Hurteau
  • Peter J. Weisberg
  • Carl Skinner
Article

Abstract

Climate-driven increases in wildfires, drought conditions, and insect outbreaks are critical threats to forest carbon stores. In particular, bark beetles are important disturbance agents although their long-term interactions with future climate change are poorly understood. Droughts and the associated moisture deficit contribute to the onset of bark beetle outbreaks although outbreak extent and severity is dependent upon the density of host trees, wildfire, and forest management. Our objective was to estimate the effects of climate change and bark beetle outbreaks on ecosystem carbon dynamics over the next century in a western US forest. Specifically, we hypothesized that (a) bark beetle outbreaks under climate change would reduce net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) and increase uncertainty and (b) these effects could be ameliorated by fuels management. We also examined the specific tree species dynamics—competition and release—that determined NECB response to bark beetle outbreaks. Our study area was the Lake Tahoe Basin (LTB), CA and NV, USA, an area of diverse forest types encompassing steep elevation and climatic gradients and representative of mixed-conifer forests throughout the western United States. We simulated climate change, bark beetles, wildfire, and fuels management using a landscape-scale stochastic model of disturbance and succession. We simulated the period 2010–2100 using downscaled climate projections. Recurring droughts generated conditions conducive to large-scale outbreaks; the resulting large and sustained outbreaks significantly increased the probability of LTB forests becoming C sources over decadal time scales, with slower-than-anticipated landscape-scale recovery. Tree species composition was substantially altered with a reduction in functional redundancy and productivity. Results indicate heightened uncertainty due to the synergistic influences of climate change and interacting disturbances. Our results further indicate that current fuel management practices will not be effective at reducing landscape-scale outbreak mortality. Our results provide critical insights into the interaction of drivers (bark beetles, wildfire, fuel management) that increase the risk of C loss and shifting community composition if bark beetle outbreaks become more frequent.

Keywords

net ecosystem carbon balance bark beetles wildfire fuels management climate change Lake Tahoe Basin 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by a grant from the Sierra Nevada Public Lands Management Act (P086). We are grateful to Jian Yang, Tom Dilts, and Alison Stanton for their contribution to prior efforts that were essential to the research herein. We thank the Lake Tahoe Basin agency personnel at the federal, state, and local level as well as the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station for their support and feedback throughout the project. Writing of this paper was supported in part by the Department of Defense, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (RC-2243).

References

  1. Amiro BD, Barr AG, Barr JG, Black TA, Bracho R, Brown M, Chen J, Clark KL, Davis KJ, Desai AR, Dore S. 2010. Ecosystem carbon dioxide fluxes after disturbance in forests of North America. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 115:G4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aukema BH, Carroll AL, Zheng Y, Zhu J, Raffa KF, Moore RD, Stahl K, Taylor SW. 2008. Movement of outbreak populations of mountain pine beetle: influences of spatiotemporal patterns and climate. Ecography 31:348–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bentz BJ, Régnière J, Fettig CJ, Hansen EM, Hayes JL, Hicke JA, Kelsey RG, Negrón JF, Seybold SJ. 2010. Climate change and bark beetles of the western United States and Canada: direct and indirect effects. Bioscience 60:602–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bradley T, Tueller P. 2001. Effects of fire on bark beetle presence on Jeffrey pine in the Lake Tahoe Basin. For Ecol Manage 142:205–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bright B, Hicke JA, Hudak A. 2012. Landscape-scale analysis of aboveground tree carbon stocks affected by mountain pine beetles in Idaho. Environ Res Lett 7:045702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bright BC, Hicke JA, Meddens AJ. 2013. Effects of bark beetle-caused tree mortality on biogeochemical and biogeophysical MODIS products. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 118:974–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Campbell J, Donato D, Azuma D, Law B. 2007. Pyrogenic carbon emission from a large wildfire in Oregon, United States. J Geophys Res 112:G04014.Google Scholar
  8. Chapin FSIII, Woodwell GM, Randerson JT, Rastetter EB, Lovett GM, Baldocchi DD, Clark DA, Harmon ME, Schimel DS, Valentini R. 2006. Reconciling carbon-cycle concepts, terminology, and methods. Ecosystems 9:1041–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coats R. 2010. Climate change in the Tahoe basin: regional trends, impacts and drivers. Clim Change 102:435–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Coats R, Costa-Cabral M, Riverson J, Reuter J, Sahoo G, Schladow G, Wolfe B. 2013. Projected 21st century trends in hydroclimatology of the Tahoe basin. Clim Change 116:51–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cole WE, Amman GD. 1980. Mountain pine beetle dynamics in lodgepole pine forests, Part 1: course of an infection. USFS General Technical Report INT·89.Google Scholar
  12. Connell JH, Tracey J, Webb LJ. 1984. Compensatory recruitment, growth, and mortality as factors maintaining rain forest tree diversity. Ecol Monogr 54:142–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Creeden EP, Hicke JA, Buotte PC. 2014. Climate, weather, and recent mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the western United States. For Ecol Manage 312:239–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Díaz S, Lavorel S, de Bello F, Quétier F, Grigulis K, Robson TM. 2007. Incorporating plant functional diversity effects in ecosystem service assessments. Proc Natl Acad Sci 104:20684–9.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Dobrowski S, Greenberg J, Ustin S. 2005. Tahoe Basin existing vegetation map v. 4.1. Ecol Model 192:126–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dolanc CR, Safford HD, Dobrowski SZ, Thorne JH. 2014. Twentieth century shifts in abundance and composition of vegetation types of the Sierra Nevada, CA, US. Appl Veg Sci 17:442–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Earles JM, North MP, Hurteau MD. 2014. Wildfire and drought dynamics destabilize carbon stores of fire-suppressed forests. Ecol Appl 24:732–40.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Edburg SL, Hicke JA, Brooks PD, Pendall EG, Ewers BE, Norton U, Gochis D, Gutmann ED, Meddens AJ. 2012. Cascading impacts of bark beetle-caused tree mortality on coupled biogeophysical and biogeochemical processes. Front Ecol Environ 10:416–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Egan JM, Jacobi WR, Negron JF, Smith SL, Cluck DR. 2010. Forest thinning and subsequent bark beetle-caused mortality in Northeastern California. For Ecol Manage 260:1832–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Egan JM, Sloughter JM, Cardoso T, Trainor P, Wu K, Safford H, Fournier D. 2016. Multi-temporal ecological analysis of Jeffrey pine beetle outbreak dynamics within the Lake Tahoe Basin. Popul Ecol 58:1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ferrell G, Otrosina W, Demars C Jr. 1994. Predicting susceptibility of white fir during a drought-associated outbreak of the fir engraver, Scolytus ventralis, in California. Can J For Res 24:302–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fettig CJ, Klepzig KD, Billings RF, Munson AS, Nebeker TE, Negrón JF, Nowak JT. 2007. The effectiveness of vegetation management practices for prevention and control of bark beetle infestations in coniferous forests of the western and southern United States. For Ecol Manage 238:24–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fettig CJ, McKelvey SR, Cluck DR, Smith SL, Otrosina WJ. 2010. Effects of prescribed fire and season of burn on direct and indirect levels of tree mortality in ponderosa and Jeffrey pine forests in California, USA. For Ecol Manage 260:207–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Forestry Canada Fire Danger Group 1992. Development and structure of the Canadian Forest Fire Behavior Prediction System. Forestry Canada, Science and Sustainable Development Directorate, Information Report ST-X-3, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.Google Scholar
  25. Franklin JF, Spies TA, Van Pelt R, Carey AB, Thornburgh DA, Berg DR, Lindenmayer DB, Harmon ME, Shaw DC, Bible K. 2002. Disturbances and structural development of natural forest ecosystems with silvicultural implications, using Douglas-fir forests as an example. For Ecol Manage 155:399–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ghimire B, Williams CA, Collatz GJ, Vanderhoof ME, Rogan J, Kulakowski D, Masek JG. 2015. Large carbon release legacy from bark beetle outbreaks across western United States. Glob Change Biol 21:3087–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Guarín A, Taylor AH. 2005. Drought triggered tree mortality in mixed conifer forests in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. For Ecol Manage 218:229–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Harvey BJ, Donato DC, Turner MG. 2014. Recent mountain pine beetle outbreaks, wildfire severity, and postfire tree regeneration in the US Northern Rockies. Proc Natl Acad Sci 111:15120–5.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  29. Hebertson EG, Jenkins MJ. 2008. Climate factors associated with historic spruce beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) outbreaks in Utah and Colorado. Environ Entomol 37:281–92.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Hicke JA, Johnson MC, Hayes JL, Preisler HK. 2012a. Effects of bark beetle-caused tree mortality on wildfire. For Ecol Manage 271:81–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hicke JA, Allen CD, Desai AR, Dietze MC, Hall RJ, Kashian DM, Moore D, Raffa KF, Sturrock RM, Vogelmann J. 2012b. Effects of biotic disturbances on forest carbon cycling in the United States and Canada. Glob Change Biol 18:7–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hicke JA, Logan JA, Powell J, Ojima DS. 2006. Changing temperatures influence suitability for modeled mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreaks in the western United States. J Geophys Re Biogeosci 2005–2012:111.Google Scholar
  33. Hood SM, Baker S, Sala A. 2016. Fortifying the forest: thinning and burning increase resistance to a bark beetle outbreak and promote forest resilience. Ecol Appl 26:1984–2000.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Hurteau MD, Koch GW, Hungate BA. 2008. Carbon protection and fire risk reduction: toward a full accounting of forest carbon offsets. Front Ecol Environ 6:493–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hurteau MD, Liang S, Martin KL, North MP, Koch GW, Hungate BA. 2016. Restoring forest structure and process stabilizes forest carbon in wildfire-prone southwestern ponderosa pine forests. Ecol Appl 26:382–91.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Jenkins MJ, Hebertson E, Page W, Jorgensen CA. 2008. Bark beetles, fuels, fire and implications for forest management in the Intermountain West. For Ecol Manage 254(1):16–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Klutsch JG, Negron JF, Costello SL, Rhoades CC, West DR, Popp J, Caissie R. 2009. Stand characteristics and downed woody debris accumulations associated with a mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) outbreak in Colorado. For Ecol Manage 258:641–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kretchun AM, Scheller RM, Lucash MS, Clark KL, Hom J, Van Tuyl S. 2014. Predicted effects of gypsy moth defoliation and climate change on forest carbon dynamics in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. PLoS ONE 9:e102531.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  39. Kretchun AM, Loudermilk EL, Scheller RM, Hurteau MS, Belmecheri S. 2016. Climate and bark beetle effects on forest productivity—linking dendroecology with forest landscape modeling. Can J For Res 46:1026–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kurz WA, Dymond CC, Stinson G, Rampley GJ, Neilson ET, Carroll AL, Ebata T, Safranyik L. 2008. Mountain pine beetle and forest carbon feedback to climate change. Nature 452:987–90.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Loudermilk EL, Scheller RM, Weisberg PJ, Kretchun AM. 2016. Bending the carbon curve: fire management for carbon resilience under climate change. Landsc Ecol 32:1–12.Google Scholar
  42. Loudermilk EL, Scheller RM, Weisberg PJ, Yang J, Dilts TE, Karam SL, Skinner C. 2013. Carbon dynamics in the future forest: the importance of long-term successional legacy and climate–fire interactions. Glob Change Biol 19:3502–15.Google Scholar
  43. Loudermilk EL, Stanton A, Scheller RM, Dilts TE, Weisberg PJ, Skinner C, Yang J. 2014. Effectiveness of fuel treatments for mitigating wildfire risk and sequestering forest carbon: a case study in the Lake Tahoe Basin. For Ecol Manage 323:114–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lucash MS, Scheller RM, Kretchun AM, Clark K, Hom J. 2014. Impacts of climate change and fire on long-term nitrogen cycling and forest productivity in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Can J For Res 44:402–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lynch HJ, Renkin RA, Crabtree RL, Moorcroft PR. 2006. The influence of previous mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) activity on the 1988 Yellowstone fires. Ecosystems 9:1318–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mattson WJ, Haack RA. 1987. The role of drought in outbreaks of plant-eating insects. Bioscience 37:110–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Meddens AJ, Hicke JA, Ferguson CA. 2012. Spatiotemporal patterns of observed bark beetle-caused tree mortality in British Columbia and the western United States. Ecol Appl 22:1876–91.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Miller JD, Safford HD, Crimmins M, Thode AE. 2009. Quantitative Evidence for Increasing Forest Fire Severity in the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade Mountains, California and Nevada, USA. Ecosystems 12:16–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mladenoff DJ. 2004. LANDIS and forest landscape models. Ecol Model 180:7–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nagel TA, Taylor AH. 2005. Fire and persistence of montane chaparral in mixed conifer forest landscapes in the northern Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe Basin, California, USA 1. J Torrey Bot Soc 132:442–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Negron JF, McMillin JD, Anhold JA, Coulson D. 2009. Bark beetle-caused mortality in a drought-affected ponderosa pine landscape in Arizona, USA. For Ecol Manage 257:1353–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Negrón JF, Popp JB. 2004. Probability of ponderosa pine infestation by mountain pine beetle in the Colorado Front Range. For Ecol Manage 191:17–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. North MP, Hurteau MD. 2011. High-severity wildfire effects on carbon stocks and emissions in fuels treated and untreated forest. For Ecol Manage 261:1115–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Palmer WC. 1965. Meteorological drought. Washington: US Department of Commerce, Weather Bureau.Google Scholar
  55. Parton WJ, Anderson DW, Cole CV, Steward JWB. 1983. Simulation of soil organic matter formation and mineralization in semiarid agroecosystems. In Lowrance RR, Todd RL, Asmussen LE, Leonard RA, Eds. Nutrient cycling in agricultural ecosystems. The University of Georgia, College of Agriculture Experiment Stations, Athens GA.Google Scholar
  56. Parton WJ, Ojima DS, Cole CV, Schimel DS. 1994. A general model for soil organic matters dynamics: sensitivity to litter chemistry, texture and management. Quantitative modeling of soil forming processes: proceedings of a symposium sponsored by Divisions S-5 and S-9 of the Soil Science Society of America. Soil Science Society of America, Minneapolis, MN, pp 147–67.Google Scholar
  57. Peterson DL, Vose JM, Patel-Weynand T. 2014. Climate change and United States Forests. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Raffa KF, Aukema BH, Bentz BJ, Carroll AL, Hicke JA, Turner MG, Romme WH. 2008. Cross-scale drivers of natural disturbances prone to anthropogenic amplification: the dynamics of bark beetle eruptions. Bioscience 58:501–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Scheller RM, Domingo JB, Sturtevant BR, Williams JS, Rudy A, Gustafson EJ, Mladenoff DJ. 2007. Design, development, and application of LANDIS-II, a spatial landscape simulation model with flexible spatial and temporal resolution. Ecol Model 201:409–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Scheller RM, Hua D, Bolstad PV, Birdsey RA, Mladenoff DJ. 2011. The effects of forest harvest intensity in combination with wind disturbance on carbon dynamics in Lake States mesic forests. Ecol Model 222:144–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Schmidt DA, Taylor AH, Skinner CN. 2008. The influence of fuels treatment and landscape arrangement on simulated fire behavior, Southern Cascade range, California. For Ecol Manage 255:3170–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schwilk DW, Knapp EE, Ferrenberg SM, Keeley JE, Capiro AC. 2006. Tree mortality from fire and bark beetles following early and late season prescribed fires in a Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forest. For Ecol Manage 232(36):45.Google Scholar
  63. Smithwick EAH, Harmon ME, Domingo JB. 2007. Changing temporal patterns of forest carbon stores and net ecosystem carbon balance: the stand to landscape transformation. Landsc Ecol 22:77–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Stephens SL, Moghaddas JJ, Edminster C, Fiedler CD, Haase S, Harrington M, Keeley JE, Knapp EE, McIver JD, Metlen K. 2009. Fire treatment effects on vegetation structure, fuels, and potential fire severity in western US forests. Ecol Appl 19:305–20.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Sturtevant BR, Gustafson EJ, Li W, He HS. 2004. Modeling biological disturbances in LANDIS: A module description and demonstration using spruce budworm. Ecol Model 180:153–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sturtevant BR, Scheller RM, Miranda RM, Shinneman D. 2009. Simulating dynamic and mixed-severity fire regimes: a process-based fire extension for LANDIS-II. Ecol Model 220:3380–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Syphard AD, Scheller RM, Ward BC, Spencer WD, Strittholt JR. 2011. Simulating landscape-scale effects of fuels treatments in the Sierra Nevada, California. Int J Fire Manag 20:364–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Taylor AH. 2004. Identifying forest reference conditions on early cut-over lands, Lake Tahoe Basin, USA. Ecol Appl 14:1903–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. van Mantgem PJ, Stephenson NL, Byrne JC, Daniels LD, Franklin JF, Fule PZ, Harmon ME, Larson AJ, Smith JM, Taylor AH, Veblen TT. 2009. Widespread increase of tree mortality rates in the western United States. Science 323:521–4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Walker R, Fecko R, Frederick W, Johnson D, Miller W. 2007. Forest health impacts of bark beetles, dwarf mistletoe, and blister rust in a Lake Tahoe Basin mixed conifer stand. West N Am Nat 67:562–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Ward NL, Masters GJ. 2007. Linking climate change and species invasion: an illustration using insect herbivores. Glob Change Biol 13:1605–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Westerling A, Bryant B, Preisler H, Holmes T, Hidalgo H, Das T, Shrestha S. 2011. Climate change and growth scenarios for California wildfire. Clim Change 109:445–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Westerling AL. 2016. Increasing western US forest wildfire activity: sensitivity to changes in the timing of spring. Phil Trans R Soc B 371:20150178.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  74. Westerling AL, Hidalgo HG, Cayan DR, Swetnam TW. 2006. Warming and earlier spring increase Western US Forest Wildfire Activity. Science 313:940–3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Williams AP, Allen CD, Macalady AK, Griffin D, Woodhouse CA, Meko DM, Swetnam TW, Rauscher SA, Seager R, Grissino-Mayer HD. 2013. Temperature as a potent driver of regional forest drought stress and tree mortality. Nature Climate Change 3:292–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Williams CA, Collatz GJ, Masek JG, Huang C, Goward S. 2014. Impacts of disturbance history on forest carbon stocks and fluxes: merging satellite disturbance mapping with forest inventory data in a carbon cycle model framework. Remote Sensing Environ 151:57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Williams CA, Gu H, MacLean R, Masek JG, Collatz GJ. 2016. Disturbance and the carbon balance of US forests: a quantitative review of impacts from harvests, fires, insects, and droughts. Global Planet Change 143:66–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. Scheller
    • 1
  • Alec M. Kretchun
    • 1
  • E. Louise Loudermilk
    • 2
  • Matthew D. Hurteau
    • 3
  • Peter J. Weisberg
    • 4
  • Carl Skinner
    • 5
  1. 1.Portland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.USDA Forest Service, Forestry Sciences LaboratoryAthensUSA
  3. 3.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  4. 4.University of Nevada-RenoRenoUSA
  5. 5.USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research StationReddingUSA

Personalised recommendations