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Bark Beetles and Climate Change around Lake Tahoe Basin

Bark beetle damage in Tahoe Basin. Image courtesy of Tahoe Quarterly
View of Emerald Bay


Forested landscapes are subject to increasingly diverse and often competing demands from society.  This includes maintaining ecological communities and, more recently, carbon (C) sequestration. Managing large forested landscapes for ecological integrity, in the context of changing climate  and altered disturbance regimes, presents new challenges and will require an integrated assessment of critically relevant processes such as multiple forest disturbances, management, succession, and the carbon cycle. Successful forest management will require information about the projected impacts of climate on forest communities, disturbance feedbacks, as well as the effectiveness of mitigation strategies for reducing these effects. We evaluated climate change effects associated with drought induced stress on forest productivity and mortality as well as bark beetle outbreaks across the forested landscape of the Lake Tahoe Basin.  Furthermore, we evaluated forest treatment options for mitigating mortality from drought-stress and bark beetle outbreaks and their effectiveness.  This research extended an earlier SNPLMA funded project (P049) which assessed the impacts of climate change on wildfire and above and belowground forest C dynamics and evaluated fuel treatments options.  The research leveraged the spatial data, model parameterization, and analysis conducted to date for P049, while incorporating drought-impact growth estimates from site-level data collected from another SNPLMA funded project (P029). Our research assessed the climate drivers that affect multiple natural disturbances and that regulate long-term forest productivity, resilience, and overall forest health.

Results and more info:
For information on related previous work in the LTB, go here.

Funding: Sierra Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA)

Participants at PSU: Alec KretchunRobert Scheller,

Collaborators: Louise Loudermilk (USFS), Matt Hurteau (University of New Mexico)Peter Weisberg (UNR)Carl Skinner (USFS)

Status:  Ongoing

Related Links:  Tahoe Science Consortium