EPIGEAL INSECT COMMUNITIES & NOVEL PEST MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES IN PACIFIC NORTHWEST HYBRID POPLAR PLANTATIONS
Rodstrom, R. Andrew
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Hybrid poplars are a short rotation woody crop grown for a variety of target markets including paper pulp, saw timber, and biofuels in the Pacific Northwest. Development of pest control strategies within hybrid poplar plantations over the last several decades has focused on controlling foliar feeding herbivores and wood boring pests, and has overlooked the epigeal arthropod community. Understanding this unstudied suite of organisms would allow pest managers to better evaluate the impact their management strategies have on the poplar agroecosystem. Qualitative surveys of the arthropod communities in hybrid poplar plantations and nearby native habitats demonstrated that a greater arthropod diversity persists in the surrounding native areas. Additionally, the poplar plantation's epigeal arthropod community was composed of species found within sampled native areas.Historically poplar research focused on protecting trees in the years following establishment through harvest from emerging pests while discounting cutting mortality by replanting areas of failure. Describing unrooted cutting transplant morality and distribution within newly established planting block could provide a risk assessment tool that growers could utilize to evaluate their potential crop loss. It was determined through the examination of damaged cuttings that several pests were responsible for diminishing establishment success. Identification of these risks led to the development of a management strategy to reduce mortality in newly planted areas. Soaking cuttings in imidacloprid for 48 hrs provided superior herbivore protection for unrooted cuttings until root formation allowed for uptake from chemigation treatments. An additional study was motivated by the increased concern in growing `clear wood' as poplar has migrated from pulp to saw timber. The accompanying renewed interest in reducing insect galleries in mature trees led to the exploration of deploying a mass trapping, or trap out, effort to reduce populations of Prionoxystus robiniae (Lepidoptera Cossidae) in specific areas of a hybrid poplar plantation. We show that a trap out effort of roughly 5 pheromone-baited traps/ha decimated P. robiniae populations in treated areas throughout the trap out effort and three years post application.