Opportunities for silviculture in management and restoration of forests affected by invasive species

Abstract

Despite increasing interest in managing invasive species in forests, few long-term experimental studies have been conducted that reveal the value of silvicultural practices in invasive species management. There is a growing interest in including forest management practices to control or manage invasives. Rather than adhere to traditional silvicultural practices, invasive species management approaches should be tailored to the specific circumstances, e.g. invasion intensity, long-term management goals, and role of the invasive, e.g., defoliator, direct mortality agent, host stressor. Pre-emptive silvicultural approaches correspond well with ecological principles of maintaining host vigor, both in plantations and natural forests. As invasive species dominate some ecosystems and influence ecosystem processes, the use of silviculture as a restoration tool gains importance. Restoration following invasive species damage may involve shifts in species composition (non-hosts) to maintain or create resilient forest communities. Evidence of successful use of silviculture to minimize damage from invasive species remains limited, and although dwarfed by other control efforts, such as biological control, silvicultural practices should be integrated into comprehensive management of invasive species. This paper explores a few of the limited case studies of silviculture use for managing invasive pathogens and insects, including Sirex noctilio, Lymantria dispar and Agrilus planipennis.

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Correspondence to R. M. Muzika.

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Guest Editors: Andrew Liebhold, Eckehard Brockerhoff and Martin Nuñez / Special issue on Biological Invasions in Forests prepared by a task force of the International Union of Forest Research Organizaons (IUFRO).

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Muzika, R.M. Opportunities for silviculture in management and restoration of forests affected by invasive species. Biol Invasions 19, 3419–3435 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-017-1549-3

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Keywords

  • Forest health
  • Forest management
  • Invasive forest pests
  • Forest pathogens
  • Gypsy moth
  • Emerald ash borer
  • European wood wasp