Regional Population DynamicsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The population dynamics of the southern pine beetle (SPB) exhibit characteristic fluctuations between relatively long endemic and shorter outbreak periods. Populations exhibit complex and hierarchical spatial structure with beetles and larvae aggregating within individual trees, infestations with multiple infested trees, and regional outbreaks that comprise a large number of spatially distinct infestations. Every year at least some part of the Southern United States experiences outbreaks, and the large and unpredictable timber losses associated with these make the SPB the most important pest of southern forests. This chapter reviews the mechanisms that may drive SPB populations at a regional scale. More specifically, it focuses on the initiation and decline of outbreaks, the patterns of damage within them, and the utility of this knowledge for managing the SPB.