Spruce Budworm Dynamics
A classical example for the implications of catastrophes for ecosystem management is spruce budworm dynamics. Spruce budworm is a caterpillar that feeds on spruce and fir forests in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. For many years, population sizes of spruce budworm are low and have little impact on trees. When forest stands reach maturity, however, spruce budworm populations explode, seriously affecting the forest by defoliating the trees. As a result of defoliation, trees are weakened and ultimately may die. With the death of trees comes a loss of the food source for spruce budworm and a consequent population crash.
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