Effects of meteorological factors on the defoliation dynamics of the larch caterpillar (Dendrolimus superans Butler) in the Great Xing’an boreal forests

Lei Fang, Yue Yu, Guofei Fang, Xu Zhang, Zhijun Yu, Xudong Zhang, Ellen Crocker, Jian Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Larch caterpillars are widely distributed in the Great Xing’an boreal forests; however, the relationship between caterpillar defoliation dynamics and climatic factors is poorly understood. The aims of this study are to investigate the primary weather conditions that might influence forest defoliation and to identify the most important life stage of the larch caterpillar at which forest defoliation might be mitigated by incorporating more inhibitory influences from climatic factors. The life cycle of the larch caterpillar was partitioned into four stages and multiple linear regression and mixed effect models were combined with a relative weight analysis approach to evaluate the importance and influence of meteorological variables on defoliation dynamics. The results show that warmer temperatures in growing seasons and overwintering periods can increase the defoliation area, while rainy and humid growing seasons decrease the defoliation area. Total precipitation during the early instar larval period had the greatest power to explain the variance in defoliation dynamics and had a very strong inhibitory effect, followed by the accumulative temperatures of the late instar larval period which had a positive impact, and precipitation during the middle instar larval period which had a negative impact. Weather conditions during the early instar larval period had the greatest influence on the area defoliated and accounted for 40% of the explained variance. This study demonstrates that climatic warming and drying will increase the risk of larch caterpillar outbreaks in the Great Xing’an Mountains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2683-2697
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Forestry Research
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Project funding: The work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFA0604403).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Climatic warming
  • Defoliation area
  • Great xing’an mountains
  • Larch caterpillar
  • Life cycle
  • Relative importance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry

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