Modeling the impacts of two bark beetle species under a warming climate in the southwestern USA: Ecological and economic consequences

Kristen M. Waring, Danielle M. Reboletti, Lauren A. Mork, Ching Hsun Huang, Richard W. Hofstetter, Amanda M. Garcia, Peter Z. Fulé, T. Seth Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Predicted climate warming is expected to have profound effects on bark beetle population dynamics in the southwestern United States. Temperature-mediated effects may include increases in developmental rates, generations per year, and changes in habitat suitability. As a result, the impacts of Dendroctonus frontalis and Dendroctonus mexicanus on forest resources are likely subject to amplification. To assess the implications of such change, we evaluated the generations per year of these species under three climate scenarios using a degree-day development model. We also assessed economic impacts of increased beetle outbreaks in terms of the costs of application of preventative silvicultural treatments and potential economic revenues forgone. Across the southwestern USA, the potential number of beetle generations per year ranged from 1-3+ under historical climate, an increase of 2-4+ under the minimal warming scenario and 3-5+ under the greatest warming scenario. Economic benefits of applying basal area reduction treatments to reduce forest susceptibility to beetle outbreaks ranged from $7.75/ha (NM) to $95.69/ha (AZ) under historical conditions, and $47.96/ha (NM) to $174.58/ha (AZ) under simulated severe drought conditions. Basal area reduction treatments that reduce forest susceptibility to beetle outbreak result in higher net present values than no action scenarios. Coupled with other deleterious consequences associated with beetle outbreaks, such as increased wildfires, the results suggest that forest thinning treatments play a useful role in a period of climate warming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-835
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Bark beetles
  • Climate
  • Fire
  • Forest vegetation simulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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