Dendrochronological reconstruction of spruce budworm outbreaks in northern Maine, USA
- Fraver, Shawn
School of Forest Resources, University of Maine
- Seymour, Robert S.
- Speer, James H.
- White, Alan S.
Using dendrochronological analyses, we reconstructed a 300 year history of eastern spruce budworm (Choristo-neura fumiferana (Clem.)) outbreaks in northern interior Maine. By analyzing radial growth patterns from the budworm host, red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.), and nonhost, northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.), we identified five outbreaks beginning ca. 1709, 1762, 1808, 1914, and 1976, all of which have been documented from eastern Canada. However, little or no evidence was found in our study for the 1830s, 1870s, or 1940s outbreaks also documented there. The mean outbreak return interval in our study (67 years) was roughly twice that postulated for eastern Canada. Differences in forest types, and associated stand dynamics, between the regions may explain the longer return intervals, and consequently the absence of these three outbreaks in Maine. Results also indicate that small, slow-growing trees exhibit a budworm signal very similar to that of overstory trees, once tree-ring series have been properly standardized.
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