This paper is a review of fundamental information on bark beetles and their interactions with several predisposing factors (air pollution, drought/temperature interactions, windthrows, management activities) that are thought to contribute to the outbreaks in the High Tatra Mountains.
The findings of many research projects indicate that the impact of air pollution on bark beetle populations is indirect and complex and that the disturbances in the physiology and natural resistance of trees may be of crucial importance to bark beetle population dynamics. An active forest protection approach is needed to be applied to the secondary Norway spruce forests affected in the past by human activity.
Bark beetle populations in natural and near-natural forests (mainly in the upper montane zone) are regulated by natural mechanisms; bark beetles are therefore a natural factor contributing to forest development, including the transition of future generations of spruce.
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