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Spread of beech bark disease in the eastern United States and its relationship to regional forest composition

Year Published

2007

Source

Canadian Journal of Forest Research 37: 726-736.

Abstract

Beech bark disease (BBD) is an insect-fungus complex involving the beech scale insect (Cryptococcus fagisuga Lind.) and one of two canker fungi. Beech scale was introduced to Halifax, Nova Scotia around 1890, presumably with the fungus Neonectria coccinea var. faginata Lohm. The disease has subsequently spread through a large portion of the range of beech. We used historical maps of the extent of the advancing BBD front (defined by presence of scale insects) in North America to estimate its rate of spread as 14.7 + 0.9 km/year. This estimate did not account for stochastic "jumps" by the scale insects to several disjunct locations; therefore, this rate is a conservative estimate. Comparison of the year of scale colonization with beech density did not suggest a relationship between the scale spread rate and beech density. Our analyses also indicated that BBD has invaded less than 30% of regions where beech is present, but it has invaded most of the regions where beech is a dominant component of stands. Despite regional increases in beech mortality following invasion, considerable amounts of live beech remain in invaded areas. Moreover, the volume of beech has increased in most areas, though generally at lower rates than that observed for associated tree species.

Citation

Morin, Randall S.; Liebhold, Andrew M.; Tobin, Patrick C.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Luzader, Eugene 2007. Spread of beech bark disease in the eastern United States and its relationship to regional forest composition. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 37: 726-736.
Last updated on: October 26, 2007

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