Effects of intensive forest management practices on insect infestation levels and loblolly pine growth
Intensive forest management practices have been shown to increase tree growth and shorten rotation time. However, they may also lead to an increased need for insect pest management because of higher infestation levels and lower action thresholds. To investigate the relationship between intensive management practices arid insect infestation, maximum growth potential studies of lobloliy pine, Pinus taeda L., were conducted over 4 yr using a hierarchy of cultural treatments. The treatments were herbaceous weed control (H), H + irrigation (I), H + I + fertilizer (F), and H + I + F + pest control (P). These treatments were monitored for differences in growth and insect infestation levels related to the increasing management intensities. The Nantucket pine tip moth, Rhyacionia frustrana(Comstock), was consistently found infesting study trees. In the third field season, the H + I + F + P treatment had significantly more southern pine coneworm, Dioryctria amatella (Hulst), attacks than the H and H + I treatments. There were significant differences in volume index (D2H) among all treatments after each of the four growing seasons. This study indicated that tree fertilization can increase coneworm infestation and demonstrated that tip moth management can improve tree growth initially. Future measurements will determine if the growth gains from tip moth management are transitory or sustainable.