Response of wood-boring beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae, Cerambycidae) to prescribed understory burning in mixed-conifer stands of southwestern Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ng451m17s

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  • Prescribed burning is increasingly being used as a management tool to reduce potential fuels on the forest floor and promote stand vigor through removal of dense, crowded vegetation. Because fire affects both the standing vegetation and the amount of downed wood in the ecosystem, it is imperative to examine how organisms dwelling in woody debris are responding to this alteration of habitat. Woody debris chewing arthropods are important to nutrient cycling and decomposition and serve as an important food source for wildlife. This study focuses on two families of wood-boring beetles, (Coleoptera: Buprestidae and Cerambycidae), which utilize woody debris for food and habitat. Most species of buprestids and cerambycids do not attack live, vigorous trees but are usually associated with stressed, fire-killed or recently downed trees. Two studies were conducted examining the response of wood-boring beetles to prescribed burning. First, an experimental study monitored the response of wood-boring beetles (both adults and larvae) to various levels of burn severity on logs placed in a designated prescribed understory burn site. However, treatments were not applied evenly or as intended. Several logs designated to be burned were not burned at all. Logs which did burn were only slightly charred, with no bark consumption. Adult beetles flying to the logs were monitored using flight intercept traps. Bark samples were taken to determine percent utilization by beetle larvae. Results were compared across percent of charring. No relationships between attraction or uti'ization and percent char could be detected. The burned and unburned logs were equally attractive to wood-boring beetles. Second, a retrospective study was conducted, surveying adult woodboring beetle populations in several prescribed burn sites, I to 15 years after burning. Overall abundance, abundance of individual species, richness and diversity were compared to adjacent control plots. While no significant relationships existed between time since burn and abundance, numbers of adult wood-boring beetles peaked in the first year after burning and remained significantly higher on previously burned sites when compared to unburned, control plots. The goal of these two studies was to determine the effect of prescribed burning on the habitat of wood-boring beetles and to aid in the development of woody debris and fire management programs. While no causal inferences could be made, wood-boring beetle populations appear to be responding positively to prescribed burning in southwestern Oregon.
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