The importance of host characteristics and canopy openness for pest management in urban forests.


Urban forests are important for the health of cities. These forests face high anthropogenic pressure, including demands on their multi-functional role. Therefore, the impact of pests-induced disturbances may be greater for urban forests than forests outside of cities. Monitoring of pests in their native environment is an important tool for the management of urban forests. To better understand how pest population density is affected by the forest environment, we used the Oak bark beetle, Scolytus intricatus, as a model organism. The study was carried out in 2014–2015 in the urban forests of Pardubice City, Czech Republic. Pest population density was studied at three levels: branch, tree and patch. The increasing branch diameter was identified as an important variable with a threshold of 70?mm for entrance holes and 45?mm for emergence holes. Increasing host tree diameter at breast height with a threshold of 46.8?cm was statistically significant at the tree level in terms of the number of entrance holes. Increasing spring canopy openness was identified as an important variable at the patch level with a threshold of 50.78% and had a decreasing trend for the number of reared adults and their total body size. Big oak trees with thick branches under closed spring canopy are the most susceptible to attack by S. intricatus. Based on our findings, we propose that the maintenance of mature oaks under open canopies is important for urban forest management. Avoiding mixed plantings of oaks and conifers should promote these open canopies and lead to multiple advantages regarding oak silviculture.


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