Western spruce budworm, WSB, Relationship of WSB outbreaks and fire
In the interior Pacific Northwest, extensive defoliation of mixed conifer forests during outbreaks of western spruce budworm (WSB) may leave the visual impression of a tinderbox with trees primed to burst into flame. But is this the case?
We addressed this question with funding from the USDA/U.S. Department of the Interior Joint Fire Science Program (project 09– 1–06–5). Here we summarize our three recent publications exploring the potential relationship between WSB outbreaks and fire. We used a multimethod approach to explore potential disturbance interactions that might cause one disturbance to change the occurrence or severity of the other. We used tree-ring records to see whether WSB and fire are related in time and computer modeling to see how defoliation could affect crown fire behavior.
Fire Management Today
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Gavin, Daniel G.; Flower, Aquila; Cohn, Greg M.; Parsons, Russell A.; and Heyerdahl, Emily K., "Western Spruce Budworm and Wildfire: Is There a Connection?" (2017). Environmental Sciences Faculty and Staff Publications. 53.
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