Managing bark beetle impacts on ecosystems and society: priority questions to motivate future research.


Recent bark beetle outbreaks in North America and Europe have impacted forested landscapes and the provisioning of critical ecosystem services. The scale and intensity of many recent outbreaks are widely believed to be unprecedented. The effects of bark beetle outbreaks on ecosystems are often measured in terms of area affected, host tree mortality rates, and alterations to forest structure and composition. Impacts to human systems focus on changes in property valuation, infrastructure damage from falling trees, landscape aesthetics, and the quality and quantity of timber and water resources. To advance our understanding of bark beetle impacts, we assembled a team of ecologists, land managers and social scientists to participate in a research prioritization workshop. Synthesis and applications. We identified 25 key questions by using an established methodology to identify priorities for research into the impacts of bark beetles. Our efforts emphasize the need to improve outbreak monitoring and detection, educate the public on the ecological role of bark beetles, and develop integrated metrics that facilitate comparison of ecosystem services across sites.

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