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Tree species identity and forest composition affect the number of oak processionary moth captured in pheromone traps and the intensity of larval defoliation

Abstract : 1- Pure forests are often seen as being more prone to damage by specialist pest insects than mixed forests, and particularly mixed forests associating host and nonhost species. We addressed the effect of tree diversity on oak colonization and defoliation by a major specialist pest, the oak processionary moth (OPM). 2- We quantified the number of male OPM moths captured and larval defoliation in pure stands of two oak host species (Quercus robur and Quercus petraea) and in mixed stands associating the two oak species or each oak species with another nonhost broadleaved species. We conducted two complementary studies to test the effect of host species and stand composition: (i) we used pheromone trapping to compare the number of males OPM captured throughout the distribution of oak hosts in France and (ii) we noted the presence of OPM nests and estimated defoliation in mature forests of north-eastern France. 3- Oak species and stand composition significantly influenced the number of male OPM captured and defoliation by OPM larvae. Quercus petraea was consistently more attractive to and more defoliated by OPM than Q. robur. Both oak trees were attacked more in pure stands than in mixed stands, in particular mixed stands associating oaks with another (nonhost) broadleaved species. 4- The results of the present study support the view that mixed forests are more resistant to specialist pest insects than pure stands, and also indicate that this trend depends on forest composition. Our study provides new insights into OPM ecology and has potential implications for forest management, including the management of urban forests where OPM causes serious human health issues.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02549372
Contributor : Marion Desailly <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 1:59:41 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 9, 2021 - 12:02:03 PM

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Thomas Damestoy, Herve Jactel, Thierry Bélouard, Hubert Schmuck, Christophe Plomion, et al.. Tree species identity and forest composition affect the number of oak processionary moth captured in pheromone traps and the intensity of larval defoliation. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, Wiley, 2020, 22 (2), pp.169-177. ⟨10.1111/afe.12371⟩. ⟨hal-02549372⟩

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