USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

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Drought stress and bark beetle outbreaks in the future forest: extending an existing model to inform climate change adaptation

Proposal [pdf]

Lead Researchers:

Robert Scheller and Louise Loudermilk, Portland State University
Matthew Hurteau, Pennsylvania State University
Peter Weisberg, University of Nevada-Reno


Managing forested landscapes in the context of a changing climate presents new and multifaceted challenges. Maintaining ecological integrity while future disturbance regimes are altered will require an integrated assessment of critically relevant processes. These include forest nutrient cycling, succession, multiple disturbances, and management regime. Successful forest management will require information about the projected impacts of climate on forest communities, disturbance feedbacks, as well as the effectiveness of mitigation strategies for reducing these effects. We propose to evaluate how climate change and associated drought induced stress will affect forest productivity and mortality as well as alter susceptibility to bark beetle outbreaks across the forested landscape of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Furthermore, we will evaluate the effectiveness of forest treatment options for mitigating mortality from drought stress and bark beetles. Our project will demonstrate how climate impacts multiple natural disturbances that regulate long-term forest productivity, resilience, and overall forest health. Results will enable managers to assess various forest mitigation strategies for adapting to a changing climate.

Relation to Other Research Including SNPLMA Science Projects

This research will be an extension of the research team's current Round 10 SNPLMA-funded project ("Management options for reducing wildfire risk and maximizing carbon storage under future climate changes, ignition patterns, and forest treatments") which is assessing the impacts of climate change and forest treatment options on wildfire and above and belowground forest carbon dynamics. The new Round 12 research will leverage the spatial data, model parameterization, and analyses conducted to date for the Round 10 project, while incorporating drought-impact growth estimates from site-level data collected from the Round 8 SNPLMA-funded project, "Modeling the influence of management actions on fire risk and spread under future climatic conditions."

Expected date of final products:

October 2014

Last Modified: Nov 12, 2014 03:49:33 PM