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Bark beetles outbreaks and drought: Causes of widespread tree mortality in the Southwest

Released: 2015
Hicke, JA, WRL Anderegg, CD Allen, NL Stephenson. 2015. Bark beetles outbreaks and drought:  Causes of widespread tree mortality in the Southwest. 13th Biennial Conference of Science & Management on the Colorado Plateau & Southwest Region, Flagstaff, Arizona. 5–8 October, 2015. [presentation]

Widespread tree mortality caused by drought and bark beetles has occurred in recent decades across the Southwest. Here we will review the largest die-off events to assess the contribution of drought, beetles, and their interaction.  Some events such as sudden aspen decline and Texas oak and juniper mortality have been primarily associated with drought, with biotic agents taking a secondary role where know.  Other events such as the piñon pine mortality in the early 2000s were a combination of severe drought and bark beetles.  Other events such as mountain pine beetle outbreaks were initiated by droughts but continued after the drought ended.  Finally, background tree mortality (widespread but not locally severe) has been linked to drought.  We describe these events, the state of the science, and prospects for the future.

This product is associated with the following project:
Climate and Fire in the Sierra Nevada

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