Bark-Beetle Monitoring in Austria
An example of a well functioning early warning system for forest practice
In 2005, the volume of bark beetle damaged timber reached 2,5 million cubic meters, the highest amount since the beginning of recording (from 1945 onwards). Given the positive feedback and a large number of accesses to the bark beetle monitoring pages of the BFW website in 2004, we decided to offer this important service also in 2005 striving to make the site even more interesting. In addition to the Federal Provinces of Upper Austria, Salzburg and Vorarlberg, we received also data from the Provinces of Burgenland, Styria and Carinthia in 2005.
Involvement of important institutions
The installation and evaluation of beetle traps in the Federal Provinces is done by bodies of the forest office at provincial and district level or by staff of the Agricultural Chambers. The Department of Forest Protection and ICT Services of the Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape, Vienna, (BFW) are in the charge of the organisation, scientific management and development of an Internet platform.
We use Theysohn slot traps baited with Ipsowit or Pheroprax ampoule for the spruce bark beetle Ips typographus, Chalcowit or Chalcoprax ampoule for the Small Spruce bark beetle (Pityogenes chalcographus), Cembräwit for the larch bark beetle (Ips cembrae), Sexowit for Ips sexdentatus and Accuwit for Ips accuminatus. Traps are checked and evaluated on a weekly basis.
The Department of Forest Protection and the ICT Services of the Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape, Vienna, in close cooperation with forest authorities and advisers of the Agricultural Chambers, have further improved and extended bark beetle monitoring in Austria by
- increasing the number of pheromone traps from 37 in four Federal Provinces to 185 traps in eight Federal Provinces,
- facilitating data entry of the number of weekly caught bark beetles via a web-driven database (entry masks)
- making available diagram results in real time on the bark beetle homepage of BFW (www.borkenkaefer.at).
- showing the relationship between climate data (air temperature and experimentally, but not yet on the Internet, precipitation) and bark beetle flight on the BFW website. Daily updated climate data are being compared with the number of bark beetles caught in Lower Austria and Burgenland.
Climate data – a tool for more meaningful prediction
According to the availability of detailed climate data (half-hour mean values) we have compared the beetle flight with meteorological data. Special emphasis is given to the dependency of the beetle swarm with defined threshold temperatures or registered sum of time of temperature ranges. The regular collection of data on weather conditions will allow better prognosis of the local risk to forest stands.
Temperature data collected and processed as half-hour mean values have been allocated and summed up to three different temperature ranges in order to illustrate favourable weather conditions for bark beetle flight: 16,5 °C to 30 °C (ideal), below 16,5 °C (too cold) and above 30°C (too hot). Precipitation is represented as precipitation duration over a number of hours. The intensity has not been taken into account because it has not much influence on flight activity.
What are the benefits to forest practice?
A great benefit of bark beetle monitoring is its topicality and availability via Internet. Forest owners, forest managers or advisors will get a good overview of the risk of bark beetle infestation in their region, allowing them to assess the situation individually in combination with weather conditions. In addition, up-to-date information including prediction by experts will be published on the BFW homepage. Increased attention and enhanced forest protection measures (keyword: forest sanitation) at the right moment may reduce the volumes of damaged timber.