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Insect Pests in Future Forests: More Severe Problems?

Author(s): Christer Björkman | Helena Bylund | Maartje J. Klapwijk | Ida Kollberg | Martin Schroeder

Journal: Forests
ISSN 1999-4907

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 474;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: forest insect pests | climate change | forest management | insect outbreak | time series | life history traits | population dynamics | trophic interactions | models

A common concern is that damage by insects will increase in forests as a consequence of climate change. We are assessing the likelihood of this predicted outcome by examining how other factors (especially changes in forest management practices) may interact with effects of climate change. Here we describe the strategies for improving understanding of the causes of insect outbreaks and predicting the likelihood of insect-mediated damage increasing in the future. The adopted approaches are: (i) analyses of historical data, (ii) comparison of life history traits of outbreak and non-outbreak species, (iii) experiments along climatic gradients to quantify the strength of trophic interactions, and (iv) modeling. We conclude that collaboration by researchers from many disciplines is required to evaluate available data regarding the complex interactions involved, to identify knowledge gaps, and facilitate attempts to progress beyond speculation to more robust predictions concerning future levels of insect damage to forests.
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