Landscape Diversity for Reduced Risk of Insect Damage: A Case Study of Spruce Bud Scale in Latvia


Spruce bud scale (Physokermes piceae (Schrnk.)) has gained attention due to recent outbreaks in the eastern Baltic Sea region—Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. In the spring of 2010, it spread rapidly across Latvia, affecting large areas of Norway spruce stands. Therefore, the aim of our study was to assess the effects of landscape heterogeneity on the damage caused by spruce bud scale in Norway spruce stands. In this study, we evaluated landscape metrics for middle-aged (40 to 70 years old) Norway spruce-dominated stands (>70% of stand’s basal area) in four of the most affected forest massifs and two unaffected forest massifs. We used a binary logistic generalized linear mixed effects model (GLMMs) to assess the effect of environmental factors on the abundance of the spruce bud scale. Our results show that increased local diversity within 100 m of a forest patch apparently reduced the probability of spruce bud scale presence. We also found that the diversity within 1000 m of a patch was associated with an increased probability of spruce bud scale damage. A quantitative analysis of landscape metrics in our study indicated that greater landscape-scale diversity of stands may reduce insect damages.