In 2013–2014, a set of 30 pheromone traps baited with synthetic lures attracting I. duplicatus (Duplodor – 15 traps) and I. cembrae (Cembrodor – 15 traps) was installed in 6 altitudinal transects (1000–1400 m a.s.l., every 100 m of elevation) in the eastern, central and western part of the Tatra National Park (TPN) in Poland and operated during the entire growing season. The main aim of the survey was to check if and to what vertical extent these two species of bark beetles, not yet recorded, are presently distributed in TPN. Collected insects, including non-target Scolytinae and Cerambycidae, were determined. Overall 1896 Scolytid bark beetles belonging to 13 species, all occurring in the whole elevation range, were collected. I. duplicatus (28 specimens in total) was collected in the whole elevation profile, similarly as I. cembrae (718 specimens in total). Among Cerambycidae (282 individuals) belonging to 19 species, Rhagium inquisitor and Pidonia lurida, found on all elevations, were the most abundant; 8 species were collected on the highest locality. Pogonocherus decoratus was found for the first time in the Tatra. Results indicate the upward spreading of the studied insects as a possible effect of climate change and the resulting environmental conditions favourable for those organisms.
Spruce bark beetle Ips typographus (L.) (Col.: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) outbreaks occur in managed and protected forests alike, but although known of for a long time, management and control of this insect is a controversial subject due to the forests’ diverse nature and protection status. In this paper, an overview of the bark beetle, conditions leading to outbreaks, natural enemies and the efficiency of control measures is presented and put into perspective with regards to the current controversies concerning outbreak management. The Białowieża Primeval Forest is central to this discussion, because the area remains divided into parts with different nature protection statuses. Ideas concerning the current but also future outbreak progress and possible issues with the management of natural resources in this area are presented.
In March 2017, in the eastern part of the Tatra National Park in Poland, large windthrowns affected the passively and actively protected Norway spruce Picea abies stands. In early 2018, a set of 12 small research plots (20 trees on each plot) was established in the Norway spruce stands next to the windblown area – 6 in the stands under active nature protection (broken and fallen trees processed in 2017), and 6 in the stands under passive nature protection (trees left on the ground). Living trees on the plots were regularly checked during the growing season in order to identify and register the spruces infested by Ips typographus, which were dissected in 2 or 4 half-meter sections. 155 spruces (64%) infested by I. typographus were recorded on all 12 plots: 118 out of 120 (98%) in passive and 37 out of 120 trees (31%) in active protection. Mean infestation density calculated on 128 samples from 47 trees was higher under passive than under active protection (1.23 and 0.92 mating chamber per 1 dm2, respectively). Among 1709 gallery systems, those with 2 maternal galleries prevailed (63.0%); the mean share of females was higher in passive than in active protection zone (63.1 and 59.6% respectively). The mean number of progeny per one female was higher in active than in passive protection zone (20.23 and 19.12 respectively). I. typographus attack on standing trees had lower intensity in the stands previously subjected to the processing and removal of fallen and broken trees, which indicates positive effect of implemented active protection procedures. The parameters describing I. typographus population on attacked trees, as well as low activity of natural enemies, demonstrate its reproduction potential and resulting high risk of a new outbreak, according to the pattern known earlier from the other areas in Poland and Europe.
At the end of 2013, strong wind destroyed spruce stands on large areas of Kościeliska Valley in Tatra Mts. in Poland. In 2015–2017, 304 bark samples were collected from 106 spruces; 25 cm × 25 cm large samples were taken from 2 or 4 sections of infested trees in July/August each year. The infestation density, sex ratio, length of maternal galleries, number of progeny and impact of natural enemies were recorded. The infestation density in individual years was 0.79–0.86 mating chambers per dm2, the average length of maternal gallery (55.2–56.6 mm) did not differ between years, The average number of progeny per female from 3-year pooled data was 18.22, the highest in 2015 (27.4) then collapsed to 15.5–16.8. The gallery systems with 2 females, in which the reproduction success was the highest, dominated (62.6%). The frequency of parasitoids or entomopathogens was very low (2–20% mortality rate in 19 bark samples). Possible reasons of relatively low reproduction success regardless generally favourable breeding conditions and its collapse after first year, such as high infestation density and low survival rate of larvae because of climatic conditions (drought), are discussed. Taking into account the described population features, very intense tree mortality and mechanisms known from the other wind events, further development of the outbreak can be expected in this area.
At the end of 2013, Norway spruce stands in the area of the Tatra National Park were severely damaged by strong storms especially in the Kościeliska Valley region. In the following spring of 2014, a survey recording the occurrence of the spruce bark beetle Ips typographus (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Scolytinae) was initiated in order to describe the dynamics of beetle reproduction in relation to protection measures executed in wind-damaged stands. Ten research plots with 20 trees each were established in a socalled active protection zone, where the broken and fallen trees had been processed and removed in 2014, and in a passive protection zone, where no actions were taken, and the dynamics of Norway spruce mortality due to bark beetle infestation including quantitative parameters (infestation density, sex ratio of beetle populations) were examined. The entomological analyses were performed on 25 × 25 cm large bark samples taken from four (active zone) or two (passive zone) tree sections. In the first year of the survey, no infested standing trees were recorded on the plots and the colonisation of fallen and broken trees was very weak. In the second year (2015), infestations appeared in larger numbers on the plots with passive compared to active protection but the infestation density was 0.89 mating chambers per 1 dm2 regardless of the protection status. In the third year (2016), most of the remaining living spruces had been infested with a mean density of 0.82 m.ch. per 1 dm2. In 2015, the proportion of females in the beetle population was 65.8% being higher in the active (68.4%) than the passive (64.0%) protection zone, while in 2016 the proportion was 63.5% and in this case slightly higher in the passive protection zone (63.9% as compared to 63.2%). These results are in accordance with patterns observed in wind-damaged Norway spruce stands of other areas in Poland and Europe and demonstrate the usefulness of forest management procedures in mitigating I. typographus outbreaks.
In 2011-2013, trials on the use of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana against bark beetle (Ips typographus) populations were carried out under open field conditions in Norway spruce stands suffering from an outbreak in the Beskid Żywiecki Mts. in Poland. Modified pheromone traps were deployed to capture and thereafter release fungus-infected bark beetles to the forest environment. Infested spruce trees felled next to the traps remained unaffected by the transmission of the fungus to insect populations. Direct spraying or dusting of lying trap logs and suspended caged rearing bolts did not have any effect on spruce infestation by I. typographus, its reproduction success and development or natural enemies inside the bark.
A very small effect on mortality rates of target as well as non-target insects overwintering in the dusted litter was observed. Treated stands, unlike control stands, were indirectly affected by the treatment, evidenced by the reduction of tree mortality due to bark beetle infestation.
At present, no recommendations concerning the potential use of the fungus in forest protection can be given. However such an environmentally friendly approach represents a promising future prospect.
In the experiment eight populations of Picea abies were chosen at 100 m intervals between 500 m and 1200 m altitude a.s.l.. In each population wood core samples were collected from 14-19 trees (126 cores total), and measured using a Corim Maxi device. At four of the eight sites (every 200 m in elevation between 500 m and 1100 m a.s.l.), the diversity of ground vegetation was evaluated, and temperature was recorded at every 100 m of altitude.
The highest average radial increment of spruce occurred between the altitudes 800-1000 m a.s.l., which is probably the optimum for spruce. The larger increment indices observed at higher altitudes may signify a high growth potential of spruce. It may also suggest a recent upward shift of the optimum growth zone for this tree species.
In 15 phytosociological records, the presence of 148 plant species forming plant associations: Dentario glandulosae- Fagetum typicum (sub-mountainous and mountainous form) and Abieti-Piceetum, and community Abies alba-Rubus hirtus, was documented. No relationship was found between ground vegetation species diversity (expressed by Shannon-Wiener index) and levels of stand diversity.
The vegetation species diversity varied with the elevation above sea level: the highest plant diversity was found at 500 m a.s.l., and decreased with increasing altitude. The potential increase in air temperatures may result in changes to the altitudinal range of many plant species including trees, and consequently in an upward shift of the boundaries of plant zones; in this case the sub-mountainous and lower mountainous forest zone. In this region, the optimal zone for Norway spruce may be restricted to the highest elevations.
In 2010-2012, investigations on Ips typographus populations were carried out in Norway spruce stands recently affected by bark beetle outbreak in the Beskid Żywiecki Mts. in Poland. The aim of the study was to test the usefulness of several traits describing I. typographus populations for evaluation of their actual outbreak tendency. Infestation density, sex ratio, gallery length, progeny number and beetle length were used as the traits. Trait variability was analyzed in relation to infested tree mortality in the current year of observation and outbreak tendency defined by the comparison of data on tree mortality in the current year and that in the year before.
The highest infestation density was found in the stands representing the highest tree mortality in the current year and in those characterized by decreasing outbreak tendency. The gallery system with 2 maternal galleries dominated. The sex ratio of attacking beetles inclined towards females (63.8%) and remained stable during 3 years of observations; the highest percentage of females was found in locations being in stabilization/latency outbreak phase. The length of maternal galleries was somewhat negatively affected by infestation density and positively correlated with the number of progeny in the gallery. The average beetle length was 4.800 mm (± 0.293), ranging between 3.718 and 5.817 mm and being the highest in the uppermost class of tree mortality recorded in the current year of observation. The shortest beetles were collected in the stands with increasing outbreak tendency, and slightly longer - in the stands with outbreak stable and decreasing tendencies.
None of the traits tested can be selected as a direct indicator for prediction of outbreak tendency in I. typographus populations. Possible reasons of variability in the analyzed traits are discussed. The traits indicate that I. typographus in the study area represent very high reproductive potential, thus the risk of repeated outbreak is very high
Recently, Norway spruce stands in Beskid Żywiecki (Western Carpathians) have been plagued by bark beetle outbreak affecting an extensive area over a large range of altitudes. Georeferenced data (2356 records) from 2009-2011 of the volume of felled spruces showing insect infestation in forest sub-compartments were analysed with respect to selected site and stand characteristics. The infestation intensity varied between individual parts of the examined area. Spruce mortality, recorded evenly across all slope expositions, was higher in the zones 800 m - 1000 m and above 1000 m than in the zone below 800 m. The infestation intensity increased slightly with spruce representation in the stands and was higher in stands older than 80 years. There was no clear correlation between spruce mortality and site quality. However, in areas with more diverse and fertile sites mortality was lower. In overall, the results obtained in this study are in line with previous knowledge on the subject, but patterns describing bark beetle preferences in infested areas appear to be less pronounced than those found in earlier publications. Risk assessment and current planning of forest protection measures in stands affected by bark beetle outbreaks should be based on the here described characteristics of spruce susceptibility to insect infection.