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Climate and Outbreaks of Western Hemlock Looper in Coastal Forests of British Columbia
Daniels, Lori D.
Understanding the links between climate, insect population dynamics and forest health is critical to forest management in the future. Climate has been identified as a trigger for outbreaks of many insects; therefore, future climate change will impact forest health through changes to the length, frequency and severity of insect outbreaks. This research investigates the links between climate, outbreaks of western hemlock looper (Lambdina fiscellaria lugubrosa), and the impacts of outbreaks on the composition and structure of forests in coastal British Columbia. We examine the frequency and impacts of western hemlock looper outbreaks using multiple lines of evidence including historical documents, instrumental climate data, multi-year data from permanent research plots, and dendroecological analyses. Our objectives are to examine the relationship of outbreaks to climate variables, test for historical trends in outbreak frequency, and quantify the impacts of recent outbreak to understand effects on forest composition and structure. Knowledge of the long-term frequency and predictability of western hemlock looper outbreaks, combined with improved understanding of climate-outbreak interactions, will increase our ability to anticipate future outbreaks given a wide range of possible climate change scenarios. The second outcome of this research will be improved understanding the impacts of western hemlock looper outbreaks on stand composition and structure. This information will be incorporated into guidelines that take into account the severity and duration of an outbreak when choosing management options for defoliated stands.
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Executive Summary
Western Hemlock Looper Populations and their Impacts on Coastal BC Forests

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