- Graduate Research
The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins), spreading through lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) forests of British Columbia’s central interior, is having immediate social, economic, cultural, and ecological impacts. Nowhere is this more evident than among the forests southwest of Vanderhoof. On June 28 th 2004, a wildfire consumed 10,000 hectares of MPB-infested forest northeast of the Kenny Dam. In parts of the fire, some experts believe that MPB-attacked stands experienced higher severities of crown torching than might otherwise be expected. Such conditions may inhibit or enhance natural regeneration depending on site conditions. This natural disturbance event presents an opportunity to study potential limitations to natural and artificial regeneration following MPB in burned and unburned forests (FSP-MPB 4.1c). Stand and forest dynamics are being monitored with measurements of light, changes in vegetation, soil moisture, soil temperature, and soil nutrients (FSP-MPB 1.4a). Three fire severity classes across two moisture regimes are compared to unburned, salvaged, and green-attack scenarios and have the potential to tie into ecological risk assessment frameworks (FSP-MPB 2.6a). Direct-seeding wild and improved seed alongside planted seedlings provides a mechanistic framework for characterizing early regeneration dynamics of the future forest. First year data collection is complete and data analysis is currently underway. The graduate research is a component of the Canadian Forest Service MPBI#8.03 being investigated by Dr. Keith Egger et al. (Arocena, J.M., Massicotte, H.B., Green, D.S., and S. Simard).