Climate change effects on trophic interactions of bark beetles in inner alpine scots pine forests
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Increased tree mortality has become a widespread phenomenon and is largely attributed to climate change. Little field research has addressed the complex interactions between trees, herbivores, and their natural enemies as affected by temperature. We recorded the densities of bark insects and their natural enemies emerging from felled trees in Scots pine forests at 17 study sites along 6 elevation gradients encompassing different temperature ranges in 3 regions in Switzerland and Italy. We additionally measured tree resin defense at different elevations. The density of aggressive bark beetles decreased with increasing temperatures while that of non-aggressive species did not respond to temperature. Contrasting patterns were also found for natural enemies, with the densities of most predatory taxa decreasing with increasing temperature whereas densities of parasitoids increased. Consequently, bark beetle mortality by predators decreased and that by parasitoids increased with temperature. Exudation of resin increased with temperature. As the number of resin ducts did not change with temperature, this is assumed a physical effect of reduced viscosity. Despite lower densities of aggressive bark beetles and improved tree resin flow under higher temperatures, the currently experienced drought-induced reduction in tree vigor is likely to increase tree mortality under the ongoing climate warming. Show more
Journal / seriesForests
Pages / Article No.
Subjectelevation gradient; natural enemies; parasitoids; predators; Scolytinae; tree defense
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