Defoliating insects are a highly visible and important element of biodiversity in forest ecosystems and as such play a significant role in forest dynamics and stand ecology. Defoliating insects also cause great economic losses (tree mortality, growth loss) to the forest resource. Yet at this time forest practitioners lack the necessary tools to accurately identify this important group of forest insects. This in turn negatively impacts the ability of forest practitioners to make informed resource management decisions in matters related to this important group of forest insects. Field work in the third year of this project was conducted in the Vancouver, Kamloops, Cariboo, Prince George and Nelson forest regions. Forest types sampled included coastal Douglas-fir, coastal western hemlock, mountain hemlock, ponderosa pine-bunchgrass, interior Douglas-fir, interior cedar-hemlock, Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir and boreal white and black spruce. Field collections for 2003 began mid-May and continued until mid-September. The project?s key interim result is expanding by 50% the number of species published on the project web site which now features 120 defoliator species. Other milestones achieved include collecting, rearing, identifying, photographing and researching and writing the supporting text (hosts, distribution, description, biology, habits, abundance and damage) for 40 additional defoliator species occurring in British Columbia. This published web site now provides all forest stakeholders with an interest in forest health, ecology, conservation and biodiversity issues with an interim diagnostics tool and information source for about 80% of the defoliator species known to occur in British Columbia. Upon completion this work will be the first comprehensive identification guide (including all species) to the conifer feeding defoliators of British Columbia. It will provide end users with clear high quality photographic documentation of the larval stage of more than 140 species of conifer defoliators and a comprehensive synthesis of information on the hosts, distribution, biology, abundance, feeding habits and damage of the conifer feeding defoliators of British Columbia.
Duncan, Robert W.. 2004. Conifer defoliating insects of British Columbia. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2004MR238