Spruce Beetle Epidemic & Aspen Decline Management Response
(SBEADMR)

PURPOSE

The Spruce Beetle Epidemic & Aspen Decline Management Response team strives to understand what effect management styles have upon land affected by spruce beetles. CFRI supports the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station and the Sibold Biogeography Lab at CSU in producing science-based information that aids the Grand Mesa, Uncompaghre, and Gunnison National Forests in implementing adaptive management strategies in beetle impacted spruce-fir forests. The goals of this project are to gain a better understanding of spruce and aspen regeneration dynamics following disturbances such as spruce beetle outbreaks, aspen decline, harvesting, and wildfire.

CONTEXT

In the past decade, spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) outbreaks and sudden aspen decline (SAD) have caused extensive tree mortality in the Grand Mesa, Uncompaghre, and Gunnison National Forests. Beetle outbreaks are natural disturbances, but drought and unusually warm temperatures may have heightened their effect and tree mortality is expected to continue into the future. The U.S. Forest Service has proposed to treat a maximum of 120,000 acres to reduce public safety threats, re-establish desired forest conditions, and enhance the resiliency of at-risk forest stands.

OUR INVOLVEMENT

CFRI works collaboratively with Dr. Mike Battaglia of the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station and the Sibold Biogeography lab at CSU to implement field monitoring efforts across the National Forests.  Additionally, CFRI is actively involved on the collaboration’s established Science Team that leads efforts to disseminate results and guide the adaptive management process across these affected forests.

METHODS

Permanent monitoring plots were initially installed in areas of the forest that were slated for salvage logging by the U.S. Forest Service.  Pre-treatment monitoring was conducted in 2015 and 2016, and post-treatment monitoring is ongoing.  Monitoring pre- and post-treatment areas intends to inform proposed projects, but results to inform adaptive management strategies will take time, and changes in forest structure may not necessarily be attributable to forest management activities.

STAFF
Kevin Barrett