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Changes in host basal area explain associational resistance of mixed forests to primary pests

Abstract : Tree species diversity generally has positive effects on forest primary productivity and resistance to natural perturbations, but diversity-function relationships can vary with site conditions. Recently, studies in forest diversity experiments have shown that tree diversity and local climate, in particular drought intensity, interactively affect insect herbivory. On the other hand, many studies focused on the response of forests to drought in terms of tree growth but without analysing the concomitant effects on susceptibility to pests. It is of particular interest to understand the combined effects of drought and tree diversity on the growth of the host tree, since host resource concentration is a determining factor of a pest & rsquo;s host choice. We used a tree diversity experiment where tree species diversity and drought conditions were both manipulated to evaluate their interactive effects on the susceptibility of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster A & iuml;t.) forests to two primary pests (i.e. infesting healthy trees): the pine stem borer (PSB) Dioryctria sylvestrella, and the pine processionary moth (PPM; a leaf chewer), Thaumetopoea pityocampa. Using structural equation models, we investigated the direct and indirect effects (i.e. mediated by host resources) of the presence of birch and drought on the total number of attacks of PPM and PSB, in the same plots and in the same year. We showed that pine-birch plots were more resistant to both PPM and PSB attacks than pine monocultures. Furthermore, we found that this associational resistance pattern was due to direct effects of birch trees on attacks, possibly related to disrupting non-host volatiles (NHVs), but also to indirect, resource-mediated effects whereby the presence of birch trees reduced the amount of host pine resources available to the pests. Drought conditions modulated birch mediated effects on resistance of maritime pine forests only for PSB attacks. Overall, our work improves our understanding of tree diversity-herbivory relationships and helps explain how climate might modulate such relationships.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - 10:26:08 AM
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Charlotte Poeydebat, Bastien Castagneyrol, Inge Van Halder, Hervé Jactel. Changes in host basal area explain associational resistance of mixed forests to primary pests. Forest Ecology and Management, Elsevier, 2021, 495, pp.1-8. ⟨10.1016/j.foreco.2021.119374⟩. ⟨hal-03273314⟩



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