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Because they prey upon a wide variety of conifers, bark beetles have a major impact upon western forests. In most of the western states, for example, we have witnessed bark beetles in epidemic outbreaks, attacking and damaging ponderosa pine, limber pine, and other hosts.
The ecosystem of bark beetle and host tree is a highly coevolved community of organisms in which the evolution of one member of the community significantly influences the evolution of the other. Largely because of the enormous economic impact these insects exert on the management of our forests, few other such communities have been studied so extensively. Bark Beetles in North American Conifers brings together in one volume both theory and a wealth of empirical data gathered by researchers from all the fields in which bark beetles are studied: ecology, evolutionary biology, population genetics, entomology, and forestry.
Topics covered include the life cycle of bark beetles and their population dynamics, their genetic variation and evolutionary mechanisms, the evolution and systematics of the major groups of bark beetles, pheromone production and its implications for coevolution among these organisms, the interaction between bark beetles and their predators, host resistance and susceptibility, the relationship of parasites and symbiotic micro-organisms in general, and management and control of bark beetles based on sound ecological and evolutionary concepts. The concluding section of the book summarizes the dynamics of the coevolved system of bark beetle and host tree and discusses controversial issues for which this system may provide important answers.