Species composition and succession in yellow pine stands following southern pine beetle outbreaks in Tennessee-preliminary resultsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) is a bark beetle that is native to the Southern United States, including Tennessee. The beetle is periodically epidemic and can cause high levels of mortalityduring epidemic years, particularly in dense or aging pine (Pinus spp.) stands. An epidemic outbreak of the Southern pine beetle occurred in 1999-2001. By 2001, at the peak of the epidemic, 55 counties in Tennessee were in outbreak status. Subsequent estimations suggest that over 350,000 acres of pine timber in the State were affected by the outbreak, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Given the relative scarcity of the softwood resource in the State compared to the abundance of hardwood species and the significant economic importance of softwoods in Tennessee, the composition and successional trajectory of pine stands impacted by southern pine beetle in the most recent 1999-2001 outbreak is of interest. Here, we measure and quantify the impacts of this southern pine beetle outbreak on the successional trajectory of impacted yellow pine stands. Plots from the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Inventory and Analysis
Program measured prior, during, and after the outbreak are used to estimate the changes that occurred in southern yellow pine systems within Tennessee. The results from this study suggest that approximately 25 percent of the softwood-dominated forests in Tennessee was lost following the 2000 southern pine beetle event. The majority of that lost acreage transitioned into hardwood-dominated communities.