WWETAC Projects

Project Title: Mexican bark beetle atlas

Principal Investigators: Jane Hayes, PNW Research Station, LaGrande, OR; Alan Ager, Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center, Prineville, OR


Collaborator:  Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas, México

Key Issues/Problems Addressed:

Bark beetles of the genus Dendroctonus are a diverse and extensive disturbance agent in the pine forests of Mexico, yet available comprehensive data is scarce. Mexican bark beetles may migrate north into U.S. forests as the climate changes, potentially causing widespread mortality.

Setting and Approach:

A biogeographic strategy was used to identify and rank areas most vulnerable to bark beetle outbreaks in México. Collection records of bark beetles and pines were employed to create a spatially explicit, quantitative estimate of the threat of beetle infestation, based on factors such as pine and beetle species density, host preference and beetle caused mortality levels. A bark beetle threat index (BBTI) was developed and used to map where beetle populations may have the largest impacts on 25 native pine species. 

Key Findings:
  • Regions of highest beetle pressure in México are restricted to small zones within some mountain systems, despite a vast area of geographic coincidence of beetle and host pines.
  • The Transverse Volcanic Belt is the most bark beetle affected region in the past hundred years, followed by the Sierra Madre Occidental, and Sierra Madre del Sur. 
  • Pine diversity is the major determining factor for beetle threat at a regional level, while disturbances from extensive logging and ecosystem change are key factors that influence high beetle susceptibility at local levels.

Study results help define areas that may sustain high impact by bark beetle in México. A geographic database is available for a variety of biogeographical studies to further assess distribution of bark beetle populations relative to their host species and potential distribution under future climate scenarios.


Salinas-Moreno, Y.; Ager, A.; Vargas, C.F.; Hayes, J.L.; Zuniga, G.  2010.  Determining the vulnerability of Mexican pine forests to bark beetles of the genus Dendroctonus Erichson (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae).   Forest Ecology and Management. 260: 52-61. (PDF, 925 KB)

WWETAC Project ID:  FY08AA48

Bark Beetle Threat Index

Figure 1. Bark Beetle Threat Index of the genus Dendroctonus on pine forests in México. Taken from: Salinas-Moreno, Y., et al., Determining the vulnerability of Mexican pine forests to bark beetles of the genus Dendroctonus Erichson (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae). Forest Ecol. Manage. (2010), doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2010.03.029

Project ID: FY08AA48