Author(s): Roger F Walker, Shannon L Swim, Dale W Johnson, Watkins W Miller, Robert M Fecko
Forest thinnings implemented with cut-to-length and whole-tree harvesting systems followed by underburning were evaluated for their effects on bark beetle prevalence in pure, uneven-aged Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi Grev. & Balf.) interspersed with isolated California white fir (Abies concolor var. lowiana [Gord.] Lemm.). Based on pitch tube counts in a stand with a moderate bark beetle population in its pine component, the Jeffrey pine beetle (Dendroctonus jeffreyi Hopkins) generally preferred larger trees before treatment implementation, but after exhibiting mixed pretreatment tendencies concerning stand density demonstrated a posttreatment proclivity toward higher density. Cut-to-length thinning followed by underburning increased the pine beetle population while whole-tree thinning unaccompanied by burning reduced it. Tree mortality was induced by the bark beetle infestation but was not its sole cause. Pitch tube abundance on white fir far exceeded that on Jeffrey pine, and the greatest influence on the fir engraver (Scolytus ventralis LeConte) population was the prevalence of its host tree. The responses presented herein to these thinning and burning practices, which are being increasingly utilized in forest restoration efforts in the western USA, provide natural resource managers insight into potential forest health outcomes when implemented in Jeffrey pine and similar dry site forest types.