Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Wyoming
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Wyoming Project

Impacts of the pine beetle epidemic on lodgepole wildlife SGCN in Wyoming.

July 2009 - September 2012


Participating Agencies

  • Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Many wildlife SGCN in Wyoming use lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) forests during part or all of their life cycle. Simultaneously, Wyoming and adjacent states are experiencing a mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) epidemic at an unprecedented scale. Experts forecast that 95% to 100% of Wyoming’s lodgepole pine will be dead within the next five years (Clint Kyle, USFS, personal communication). These broad-scale changes necessitate an understanding of how lodgepole-inhabiting SGCN in Wyoming will be impacted in the interim prior to lodgepole regeneration in order to gauge conservation risk and prioritize WGFD and other agency action plans. Some lodgepole-inhabiting SGCN populations are likely to experience local extirpation during the pine beetle epidemic. However, populations adjacent to other coniferous stand types that are less affected by D. ponderosae, such as spruce-fir, may be able to utilize those stands as spatial/temporal refugia. SGCN populations in such refugia could then persist and serve as source populations following lodgepole regeneration. Determining the extent to which spruce-fir forests will be able to serve as refugia during the current beetle epidemic would therefore provide important information towards determining the status, population trajectories and management of Wyoming’s lodgepole SGCN.

Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Heyward, Joslin E., An assessment of Spatiotemporal Refugia for Wildlife during a Mountain Pine Beetle Epidemic, M.S., Department of Zoology and Physiology, December 2012 December 2012