Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Landscape-scale treatment promising for slowing beetle spread

04.02.2009
Mountain pine beetles devastating lodgepole pine stands across the West might best be kept in check with aerial application of flakes containing a natural substance used in herbal teas that the insects release to avoid overcrowding host trees, according to a team of scientists.

Findings from the U.S. Forest Service-funded study appear in the February issue of Forest Ecology and Management. The study was conducted in California and Idaho, and showed how applications of laminated flakes containing a substance called verbenone resulted in a three-fold reduction in insect attack rates, compared to areas where they were not applied.

The technique could provide a way to treat infestations on a large scale and limit further spread into millions of acres of trees made vulnerable because of climate change, overcrowding and fires.

It could also be an alternative to insecticides, which can have adverse environmental effects. Thinning of some overstocked forests is still recommended to reduce susceptibility to bark beetles. But, the flakes can provide some protection for the dense, old-growth stands required by wildlife, according to the scientists.

The largest beetle outbreak in North American history is now occurring in Canada, where more than 22 million acres are affected, according to the British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Range. Outbreaks of this magnitude exacerbate global warming by converting forests from carbon sinks to carbon sources.

Scientists have known for more than a decade that one of the safest strategies for deterring such infestations was through application of verbenone, which beetles release to inhibit aggregation by members of their own species, and the Food and Drug Administration has approved for use as a flavor ingredient. But, manual application of verbenone is difficult where infestations cover thousands of acres in remote, steep terrain.

"Verbenone flakes gave significant protection from mountain pine beetles when applied to low to moderate beetle populations," said Nancy Gillette, a Forest Service scientist at the Pacific Southwest Research Station and one of nine researchers involved in the study. "Higher beetle populations will probably require higher application rates."

Gillette and her colleagues speculated that flakes released from the air might better disperse and simulate natural beetle release than large, manually-applied verbenone packets so they used helicopters to release flakes.

They treated 10 plots at two sites, one near Mount Shasta in Northern California and another in Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains. The sites had similar tree densities and existing rates of infestations. Helicopters dropped flakes on half of the plots and left the others untreated, with application rates of about 9.7 flakes per square meter.

The treatments reduced the level of attack to about a third of that in untreated plots in both California and Idaho. Future studies will test a biodegradable formulation of the flakes.

The study, "Aerially Applied Verbenone-Releasing Laminated Flakes Protect Pinus Contorta Stands From Attack by Dendroctonus Ponderosae in California and Idaho" can be seen in the journal Forest Ecology and Management at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2008.12.017

Roland Giller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fs.fed.us
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2008.12.017

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Cereals use chemical defenses in a multifunctional manner against different herbivores
06.12.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht Can rice filter water from ag fields?
05.12.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

CCNY-Yale researchers make shape shifting cell breakthrough

12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>