Landscape Ecology

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 105–120 | Cite as

Plant-pest interactions in time and space: A Douglas-fir bark beetle outbreak as a case study

  • Jennifer Sarah Powers
  • Phillip Sollins
  • Mark E. Harmon
  • Julia A. Jones


A conceptual model of Douglas-fir bark beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae) dynamics and associated host tree mortality across multiple spatial and temporal scales was developed, then used to guide a study of the association between the occurrence of beetle- killed trees and factors that might render trees more susceptible to attack. Long-term records of beetle kill showed that beetle epidemics were associated with windstorms and drought at statewide and local spatial scales. At the landscape scale, beetle kill was associated with (i) portions of the landscape that were potentially drier (southern aspects, lower elevations) and (ii) portions of the landscape that had more mature and old-growth conifer vegetation. The patches of beetle-killed trees were aggregated with respect to other patches at scales of approximately 1 and 4 km. At the scale of the individual tree, there was not a strong relationship between beetle kill and resistance to attack measured by tree growth rate prior to attack. Our results show that landscape-scale phenomena and temporal patterns were more strongly correlated with beetle-kill events than was recent growth history at the scale of individual trees. We suggest that the multi-scale approach we employed is useful for elucidating the relative roles of fine- versus coarse-scale constraints on ecological processes.

bark beetle epidemic Douglas-fir hierarchy theory multiple spatial and temporal scales 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Atkins, M.D. 1959. A study of the flight of the Douglas-fir beetle, Dendroctonus pseudotsugae Hopk. (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) I. Flight preparation and response. Can Entomol 91: 283–291.Google Scholar
  2. Atkins, M.D. and McMullen, L.H. 1960. On certain factors influencing Douglas-fir beetle populations. Fifth World Forestry Congress Proceedings (Seattle, WA) 2: 857–859.Google Scholar
  3. Barbosa, P. and Wagner, M.R. 1989. Introduction to Forest and Shade Tree Insects. Academic Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  4. Berryman, A.A. 1982. Biological control, thresholds, and pest outbreaks. Env Entomol 11: 544–549.Google Scholar
  5. Boots, B.N. and Getis, A. 1988. Point Pattern Analysis. Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA.Google Scholar
  6. Box, G.E. and Jenkins, G.M. 1976. Time Series Analysis: Forecasting and Control. Holden-Day, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  7. Castello, J.D., Leopold D.J. and Smallidge, P.J. 1995. Pathogens, patterns, and processes in forest ecosystems. BioScience 45: 16–24.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, W.B., Spies, T.A. and Fiorella, M. 1995. Estimating the age and structure of forests in a multi-ownership landscape of western Oregon, USA. Int J Remote Sensing 16: 721–746.Google Scholar
  9. Franklin, J.F. 1979. Vegetation of the Douglas-fir region. pp. 93–112. In Forest Soils of the Douglass-fir Region. Edited by Heilman, P.E., Anderson, H.W. and Baumgartner, D.M. Washington State University Cooperative Extension, Pullman, WA.Google Scholar
  10. Franklin, J.F. and Dyrness, C.T. 1973. Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, Oregon.Google Scholar
  11. Franklin, JF and Forman, T.T. 1987. Creating landscape patterns by forest cutting: ecological consequences and principles. Landsc Ecol 1: 5–18.Google Scholar
  12. Furniss, M.M. 1962. Infestation patterns of Douglas-fir beetle in standing and windthrown trees in southern Idaho. J Econ Entomol 55: 486–491.Google Scholar
  13. Furniss, M.M, McGregor, M.D., Foiles, M.W. and Partridge, A.D. 1979. Chronology and characteristics of a Douglas-fir beetle outbreak in northern Idaho. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report INT-59, Odgen, UT.Google Scholar
  14. Furniss, M.M., Livingston, R.L. and McGregor, M.D. 1981. Development of a stand susceptibility classification for Douglas-fir beetle. In Hazard-rating systems in forest insect pest management: symposium proceedings. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report WO-27.Google Scholar
  15. Godfray, H.C.J. and Hassell, M.P. 1997. Hosts and parasitoids in space. Nature 386: 660–661.Google Scholar
  16. Graumlich, L.J. 1987. Precipitation variation in the Pacific Northwest (1675-1975) as reconstructed from tree rings. Ann Assoc Am Geograph 77: 19–29.Google Scholar
  17. Kaufmann, M.R. and Ryan, M.G. 1986. Physiographic, stand, and environmental effects on individual tree growth and growth efficiency in subalpine forests. Tree Physiol 2: 47–59.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kushmaul, R.J., Cain, M.D., Rowell, C.E. and Porterfield, R.L. 1979. Stand and site conditions related to southern pine beetle susceptibility. For Sci 25: 656–664.Google Scholar
  19. Larsson, S. 1989. Stressful times for the plant stress-insect performance hypothesis. Oikos 56: 277–283.Google Scholar
  20. Lessard, E.D. and Schmid, J.M. 1990. Emergence, attack densities, and host relationships for the Douglas-fir beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae Hopkins) in Northern Colorado. Great Basin Naturalist 50: 333–338.Google Scholar
  21. Manion, P.D. 1981. Decline diseases of complex biotic and abiotic origin. In Tree Disease Concepts. pp. 324–339. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Google Scholar
  22. McGarigal, K. and Marks, B.J. 1994. Fragstats: spatial pattern analysis program for quantifying landscape structure. Forest Science Department, Oregon State University.Google Scholar
  23. McMullen, L.H. and Atkins, M.D. 1961. Intraspecific competition as a factor in the natural control of the Douglas-fir beetle. For Sci 7: 197–203.Google Scholar
  24. Moeur, M. 1993. Characterizing spatial patterns of trees using stemmapped data. For Sci 39: 756–775.Google Scholar
  25. Mueller-Dombois, D. 1986. Perspectives for an etiology of standlevel dieback. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 17: 224–43.Google Scholar
  26. National Climatic Data Center. 1962-1990. Storm Data and Unusual Weather Phenomenon Reports, volumes 4-32. Ashville, NC.Google Scholar
  27. Orr, P.W. 1963. Windthrown timber survey. USDA Forest Service Insect and Disease Control Branch. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Portland, Oregon.Google Scholar
  28. Powers, J.S. 1995. Spatial and temporal dynamics of the Douglas-fir bark beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae, Hopk.) in the Detroit Ranger District: a landscape ecology perspective. MS thesis, Oregon State University.Google Scholar
  29. Rudinsky, J.A. 1966. Host selection and invasion by the Douglas-fir beetle, Dendroctonus pseudotsugae Hopkins, in coastal Douglas-fir forests. Can Entomol 98: 98–111.Google Scholar
  30. SAS Institute. 1992. SAS technical report P-229. SAS/STAT Software: Changes and Enhancements, Release 6.07. Cary, North Carolina.Google Scholar
  31. Sinton, D.S. 1996. Spatial and temporal patterns of windthrow in the Bull Run Watershed, Oregon. P.h.D. Dissertation, Dept. of Geosciences, Oregon State University.Google Scholar
  32. StatgraphicsPlus. 1993. Reference Manual Version 7. Manguistics, Inc., Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  33. Turchin, P. 1990. Rarity of density dependence or population regulation with lags? Nature 344: 660–663.Google Scholar
  34. Turchin, P., Lorio, P.L. Jr., Taylor, A.D. and Billings, R.F. 1991. Why do populations of southern pine beetles (Coleptera: Scolytidae) fluctuate? Env Entomol 20: 401–409.Google Scholar
  35. Turner, M.G. 1989. Landscape ecology: the effect of pattern upon process. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 20: 171–197.Google Scholar
  36. Waring, R.H. and Schlesinger, W.H. 1985. Forest Ecosystems: Concepts and Management. Academic Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  37. Waring, R.H. and Pitman, G.B. 1980. A simple model of host resistance to bark beetles. Oregon State University Forest Research Laboratory Research Note 65.Google Scholar
  38. Wright, L.C., Berryman, A.A. and Wickman, B.E. 1984. Abundance of the fir engraver, Scolytus ventralis, and the Douglas-fir beetle, Dendroctonus pseudotsugae, following tree defoliation by the Douglas-fir tussock moth, Orgyia pseudotsugata. Can Entomol 116: 293–305.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Sarah Powers
    • 1
  • Phillip Sollins
    • 1
  • Mark E. Harmon
    • 1
  • Julia A. Jones
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forest ScienceOregon State University, 020 Forestry Sciences LaboratoryCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeosciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

Personalised recommendations