Climate and bark beetle effects on forest productivity -- linking dendroecology with forest landscape modeling


In forested systems throughout the world, climate influences tree growth and aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP). The effects of extreme climate events (i.e., drought) on ANPP can be compounded by biotic factors (e.g., insect outbreaks). Understanding the contribution of each of these influences on growth requires information at multiple spatial scales and is essential for understanding regional forest response to changing climate. The mixed conifer forests of the Lake Tahoe Basin, California and Nevada, provide an opportunity to analyze biotic and abiotic influences on ANPP. Our objective was to evaluate the influence of moisture stress (climatic water deficit, CWD) and bark beetles on basin-wide ANPP from 1987 to 2006, estimated through tree core increments and a landscape simulation model (LANDIS-II). Tree ring data revealed that ANPP increased throughout this period and had a nonlinear relationship to water demand. Simulation model results showed that despite increased complexity, simulations that include moderate moisture sensitivity and bark beetle outbreaks most closely approximated the field-derived ANPP~CWD relationship. Although bark beetle outbreaks and episodic drought-induced mortality events are often correlated, decoupling them within a simulation model offers insight into assessing model performance, as well as examining how each contributes to total declines in productivity.

  • Citation: Kretchun, Alec M.; Loudermilk, E. Louise; Scheller, Robert M.; Hurteau, Matthew D.; Belmecheri, Soumaya 2016. Climate and bark beetle effects on forest productivity - linking dendroecology with forest landscape modeling. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, Vol. 46(8): 9 pages.: 1026-1034. DOI:10.1139/cjfr-2016-0103

Requesting Print Publications

Publication requests are subject to availability. Fiscal responsibility limits the hardcopies of publications we produce and distribute. Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, distributed and printed.

Please make any requests at

Publication Notes

  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
  • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.