Assessing Mountain Pine Beetle Impacts on Forest Stand in Fraser Forest
Team Location: Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) Fort Collins, Colorado
Authors: Matthew Luizza, Colorado State University; Steve Chignell, Colorado State University
Advisors/Mentors: Dr. Paul Evangelista, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University; Dr. Jeffrey Morisette, USGS; Robert Hubbard, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station; Nicholas Young, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University.
Other Acknowledgements: Jonathan Burnett, DEVELOP; Lane Carter, DEVELOP; Catherine Jarnevich, USGS
Abstract: Mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) infestations have reached epidemic proportions across the western United States, with the Colorado Rockies enduring extensive damage. Aerial detection surveys have been effective in measuring rate of spread but have no way of accurately determining how much of the forest over story is affected by beetle mortality. Understanding this impact on forest structure and composition holds great importance for land managers, researchers and community members alike. Using Boosted Regression Tree modeling, Landsat 5 imagery and ancillary datasets, the goal of this project was to more accurately model forest land cover in Fraser Experimental Forest to assist in quantifying beetle mortality across the landscape. Field validation methods included assessment of more than 100 plots stratified across the study site and model recalibration to achieve accuracy of greater than 80 percent. Collaborative efforts with local organizations included the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service and Colorado State University.