'Southern Pine Beetle II': Current state of knowledge on an important forest pest
The USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) today announced the publication of a new synthesis of research on the southern pine beetle, a native bark beetle that impacts both the economic and ecological well-being of the forests of the southern United States.
Southern pine beetle is the most destructive forest pest in the Southern United States, causing more than $60 million in damage and lost timber income annually. The most recent outbreak of the insect (1999-2003) caused over $1.5 billion in damages across eight states. Changes in forests from tree death caused by the bark beetles can impact water supplies from forested watersheds as well as wildlife habitat.
Edited by SRS Assistant Director for Research Kier Klepzig and Texas A&M University Professor Robert Coulson, Southern Pine Beetle II updates the first synthesis published in 1980 by SRS researcher Robert Thatcher and others and proceedings from an integrated pest management research symposium published in 1985.
"In the 30 years since the last synthesis, the forest environment for southern pine beetle changed significantly," says Klepzig. "Industrial ownership declined, people moved into the wildland-urban interface, and recreational demand on forests expanded. The research arena has also changed dramatically over the last three decades. Advances in molecular, microscopy and landscape sciences have facilitated important new discoveries about the biology, ecology and management of southern pine beetle."
Southern Pine Beetle II consists of five basic sections covering ecology, impact, silviculture and management, treatment tactics and strategies, and integrated pest management. The authors who contributed individual chapters to the book are recognized authorities in their areas. The book is intended for managers, researchers, educators, students, and the interested public.
"Beyond their economic importance, bark beetles are fascinating organisms," says Klepzig. "The southern pine beetle is among the most thoroughly studied forest insects; this publication represents the current state-of-the-art knowledge base for this species."
SRS provided the funding for Southern Pine Beetle II, with contributions from the Forest Service Southern Region, Forest Health Protection, SPB Prevention and Restoration Program.