Population Dynamics of Southern Pine Beetle in Forest LandscapesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Southern pine beetle (SPB) is an important pest of Southeastern United States pine forests. Periodic regional outbreaks are characterized by localized areas of tree mortality (infestations) surrounded by areas with little or no damage. Ultimately, this spatiotemporal pattern of tree mortality is driven by the dynamics of SPB populations—more specifically, by rates of survival, reproduction, development, and dispersal. In turn these rates are driven by the interaction between SPB and its hosts, predators, and climate. In this chapter, the relationship between these factors and SPB population ecology are discussed. Particular emphasis is placed on mechanisms that could explain the temporal changes of the population from outbreak to nonoutbreak phases, the dispersal of SPB across a complex forest landscape, and the importance of interpreting the environment using current knowledge of SPB ecology.