Identifier

etd-0129103-132127

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The interactions of insects and fire on the health and restoration of longleaf pines in Louisiana were investigated. Insects found to be economically and ecologically important were considered, primarily bark beetles and weevils. First, insect populations in an area of fire exclusion of the Palustris Experimental Forest within the Kisatchie National Forest were quantified using baited flight intercept and pitfall traps. The possible influence of temperature and precipitation on insect abundance also was studied. Insects were most abundant during March and April and with correlating temperatures from 10-20 °C. Precipitation was not found to have an effect on insect abundance. Second, the roles of fire and insects and tree health were examined. As an indicator of tree health, 24-hour resin production was sampled from trees in the study area. Insects responded differentially to prescribed fire by season and feeding guild. Dormant season burns attracted significantly more root feeding than bark feeding insects. Growing season burns attracted significantly fewer insects than dormant season burns. Last, a portable propane burner was utilized to conduct semi-controlled burning of trees, simulating dormant and growing season burns of long and short duration of low and high intensity, respectively. Trees subjected to non-traditional prescriptions (high intensity dormant season fires and low intensity growing season fires) produced significantly less resin than trees burned under traditional prescriptions (low intensity dormant season fires and high intensity growing season fires). Overall, my research indicated that longleaf pine should be managed with prescribed burning during the growing season for stand maintenance. Growing season burns minimize insect response and have been shown to mimic natural burning patterns and be more effective at reducing understory competition. Depending upon management objectives, managers should consider insect response and the effect of fire on tree health when developing prescriptions.

Date

2003

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Richard A. Goyer

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