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Persisting bark beetle outbreak indicates the unsustainability of secondary Norway spruce forests: case study from Central Europe

  • Original Paper
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• Context

Secondary Norway spruce forests in the Western Beskids are among the most damaged forests in Europe. Although spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) has been recently causing large-scale damage to these forests, our understanding of I. typographus dynamics in this environment is inadequate for evaluating forest sustainability.

• Aim

This study aims to evaluate the patterns of damage caused by I. typographus to spruce forests with compromised ecological stability.

• Methods

Forest infestation by I. typographus was inferred from sanitary felling data collected from 1998 to 2004. Stand and site data were obtained from forest management plans. Spatial-dependence analysis, ordinary kriging and neural network-based regression modelling were used to investigate the patterns of infestation and the casual relationships in the studied ecosystem.

• Results

I. typographus long-distance dispersal substantially decreased with outbreak culmination. The spread of infestation was only weakly related to stand and site parameters. Infestations spread isotropically at the stand and patch level but directionally at the regional scale.

• Conclusions

The large-scale spread of infestation can be explained by the uniform age and species composition of the investigated forests and by the ability of populations to overwhelm suboptimal trees. The observations presented here suggest that secondary spruce forests in Europe may be unsustainable due to unprecedented bark beetle outbreaks, which can be further amplified by changing climate.

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The authors thank Dr. Bruce Jaffee for linguistic and editorial improvement.


This research was supported by project of the Agency of the Slovak Ministry of Education ITMS 26220120069 (60%), Slovak Research and Development Agency under contract APVV-0111-10 (30%), National Agency for Agriculture Research of the Czech Republic within the frame of project QJ1220317 and project CIGA no. 20114312 of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (10%).

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Correspondence to Tomáš Hlásny.

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Handling Editor: Francois Lieutier

Contribution of the co-authors

Tomáš Hlásny: writing the paper, preparing the data and running the data analysis.

Marek Turčáni: co-writing Introduction and Discussion, interpreting results and coordinating the research project

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Hlásny, T., Turčáni, M. Persisting bark beetle outbreak indicates the unsustainability of secondary Norway spruce forests: case study from Central Europe. Annals of Forest Science 70, 481–491 (2013).

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