Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y093061

    Development and analysis of forest health databases, models, and economic impacts for BC: Spruce bark beetle & spruce; western spruce budworm and Douglas fir
Project lead: Swain, Harry (University of Victoria)
Contributing Authors: Murdock, Trevor Q.; Abbott, Clint L.; Bennett, Katrina E.; Campbell, Kirstin; Swain, Harry; Flower, Aquila; Thorne, Susan
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
The purpose of this project is to develop standard climate spatial databases
and climate change projection databases, compatible with the scale of
recently developed natural disturbance databases and data on host
distribution from forest inventory records, and to use these data to develop
and test methods to predict the impacts of climate change on forest pests,
using the western spruce budworm/Douglas-fir (WSBW/DF) and spruce bark
beetle/spruce (SBB/S) systems as test cases.

Preliminary modeling analyses have been done of climate change impacts on
biogeoclimatic zones, trees species ranges and climatic parameters (Hamann
and Wang 2006, Wang et al 2006, Spittlehouse 2006, All show
the potential for rapid widespread changes in forest ecosystems within the
next rotation. Though none of these forecasts look at forest pests directly,
they indicate major stress for forests trees associated with significant
change in environmental factors controlling forest pests.

Assessing the future of BCs forests under the forcing of climate change is
a complex task because of the pest-host interactions involved in forest
health, the uncertainty and scale of results from climate models and the
lack of knowledge of climate requirements of both hosts and pests. This
project focuses on compiling and developing appropriate climate data and
output from climate models for investigating the future of forest health and
testing the data with two host-pest systems. The deliverables are a tested
and relatively standard methodology of analysis, a comprehensive updatable
climate data base for forecasting forest health for wide range of possible
climates, and specific map-based forecasts for the two specific forest
health cases (WSBW/DF and SBB/S)

This year the project will aggregate the results of physical envelope modeling for climate suitability in order to produce projections of future outbreak scenarios, as well as disseminate these results. The project started by compiling empirical data about the potential impact of WSBW/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 and outbreaks of WSBW/SBB have been defined by analysis of geographic occurrence data and climate data.

It is in this step that SBB entymological expertise of Alfaro, Nealis, and Taylor has been incorporated. Several choices of dataset and method for determining envelopes were investigated in the previous two years. Now that methods have been examined, it is proposed during the final year to focus on producing results from these methods for decision-making.

ClimateBC and similar methods will be used to create future projected distributions of
WSBW and SBB outbreaks for the next century as in Hamann and Wang (2005, 2006)
and Wang et al. (2006). An estimate of the degree of climate stress on
spruce and Douglas fir will be developed using forest inventory and growth
and yield data. By combining future tree health and distributions with
WSBW/SBB outbreak conditions, potential 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 final task will be to understand what those impacts may mean for resource
management decisions. WSBW/SBB outbreaks 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).

Economic modeling will be used this year in order to pose such research
questions as: Should healthy timber in the WSBW/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)


Final report (6.0Mb)
Summary Report - Forest pests and Climate change symposium (1.0Mb)
Forrex vol10_no3_art13 (82Kb)
Forrex vol9_no3_art2 (0.5Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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