Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y082061

    Climatic influence on economic impacts of spruce bark beetle
Project lead: Swain, Harry (University of Victoria)
Contributing Authors: Campbell, Kirstin; Mehlenbacher, Alan; Montenegro, Alvaro; Murdock, Trevor Q.; Abbott, Clint L.; Bennett, Katrina E.; Swain, Harry
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
This year the project will continue pursuing physical envelope modeling, an empirical method recently used by Hamann and Wang to study BC forest impacts under future climates. The technique will enable taking the first step towards understanding the potential effects of climate change on SBB stand-level losses. The project started by compiling empirical data about the potential impact of SBB in reducing recoverable timber across BC. Specifically, the climatic conditions such as variations of 30-year averages of monthly minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation for both occurrence of SBB and outbreaks of SBB have been defined by analysis of geographic SBB occurrence data and climate data. It is in this step that SBB entymological expertise of Alfaro and Taylor has been incorporated. Because of the nature of such ‘climatic suitability’ mapping, a first-order relationship between climate and white spruce, as well as climate and SBB is appropriate. During this step, several choices of dataset and method for detemining envelopes have been found. This year, the results from different methods will be compared and the best method/dataset for the results required of the rest of the project will be chosen. Once climate-SBB relationships are determined, then tools such as ClimateBC will be used to create future projections of climate and stand-level SBB impacts for the next century as in Hamann and Wang (2005, 2006) and Wang et al. (2006). Subsequently, climate variables from all available climate models and experiments will be extracted. A set of projections representing the 10th, median and 90th percentile values will be compiled and used to generate future climatic conditions based as has been completed for several species distributions in the Royal BC Museum Climate Change exhibit. In addition to defining climate envelopes for SBB and its outbreaks, the climate envelope for white spruce itself will also be established. To summarize, an estimate of the degree of climate stress on spruce will be developed using forest inventory and growth and yield data. By combining future tree health and distributions with SBB outbreak conditions, potential future SBB outbreak impacts will be projected under future climatic conditions (for the time periods of the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s) resulting in a series of high resolution maps. The next task will be to understand what those impacts may mean for resource management decisions. SBB may affect forest landscape values (scenic amenities, carbon flux, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities), fire regimes, and available options for managing forests on a large scale for decades to come. In order to understand how a landscape should be managed during a period of projected stand-level losses, it is necessary to have some knowledge of its total economic value (TEV) and how that value changes as a result of management and other natural threats (Eisenworth and van Kooten, 2002). Although this step will not be actively investigated this year, the economic modeling will be involved during this year in order to ensure that results from this year will integrate with the economic models next year. This is needed in order to attempt to address such research questions as: Should healthy timber in the SBB-infected region be logged for its commercial benefits and contribution to community stability, or should it be left standing? If left standing, when is it optimal to harvest the timber, particularly given the risks posed by fire and climate-induced invasions by (other) insect pests or disease? Synthesis of results from each phase of the project, with an application to decision support tools, means that results may be incorporated into resource management options and planning, both in terms of responding to projected losses and possibly even to mitigate stand level losses themselves or at least the economic impact of them on communities. In climate science jargon, the results of this project will directly enable extension agents to facilitate the development of adaptation strategies (during and after project completion). The ability to estimate future SBB stand-level losses addresses strategic priorities of the BC Ministry of Forests and Range (MoFR). Research Branch (e.g., Dave Spittlehouse) will benefit by knowledge gained in application of the Climate BC tool (developed with support from MoFR and the Forest Science Program project Y062149) which may be applied to future improvements of the ClimateBC tool. SBB projection maps, results, and lessons learned from this project will also be relevant for future work on beetle population simulations. MoFR Region and District planning officers and entomologists (e.g. Lorraine Maclauchlan – Southern Interior Forest Region) will be able to use results for decision making regarding logging areas as well as species decisions for reforestation. Ministry sections responsible for determining the annual allowable cut will find the results useful in their deliberations. Extension specialists such as FORREX (e.g., Kathie Swift), and through them forestry-dependent communities and forestry professionals, will benefit from online tools and published materials. Project results will enable the beginning of a meaningful discussion around assessment of vulnerability to SBB stand level losses and use of decision-support tools to begin adaptation strategies (i.e., to improve communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate change on SBB stand level losses).
Related projects:  FSP_Y071061FSP_Y082321


Executive Summary (21Kb)
Determining Climate Suitability Envelopes for Important Commercial Tree Species (Report) (1.2Mb)
Spruce Bark Beetle and Western Spruce Budworm (Report) (0.8Mb)
Bio-Economic Modelling Status (Report) (0.3Mb)
Forest Pests and Climate Change (Summary Report) (1.0Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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