iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Influence of soil and topography on defoliation intensity during an extended outbreak of the common pine sawfly (Diprion pini L.)

Maiju Kosunen   , Tuula Kantola, Mike Starr, Minna Blomqvist, Mervi Talvitie, Päivi Lyytikäinen-Saarenmaa

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 164-171 (2016)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2069-009
Published: Nov 19, 2016 - Copyright © 2016 SISEF

Research Articles

Insect herbivore disturbances are likely to intensify as a consequence of climate change. In Finland, outbreaks of the common pine sawfly (Diprion pini L.), which feeds on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) needles, and resulting damage to forests have already increased. Although drivers of sawfly outbreak dynamics have been investigated, the effects of topography and soil fertility have not been fully elucidated. We studied the effect of elevation, slope and soil properties (carbon and nitrogen contents, C/N ratio, pH, texture and horizon thicknesses) on the defoliation intensity of 28 plots (227-531 m2), located in a 34.5 km2 forested area in eastern Finland suffering from an extended outbreak of D. pini. Plot elevation and slope (relative relief 35 m, maximum elevation 200 m a.s.l.) were derived from a digital elevation model and the soil properties from samples of the humus layer (Of+Oh), (Ah+)E and B horizons of podzol profiles. Defoliation was greater on the more fertile and flatter sites than on less fertile and steeper sites, but independent of elevation. The soil property most strongly correlated to plot mean defoliation was the C/N ratio of the humus layer (Spearman’s ρ = -0.68). However, logistic modelling showed that the thickness of the (Ah+)E-horizon had the highest classification accuracy in predicting the probability of a plot having moderate to severe (>20%) defoliation. Our study showed that forest damage caused by D. pini was related to topography and soil fertility. Taking these factors into account could help in understanding the population dynamics of D. pini, in modeling of insect outbreaks and in forest management planning.


C/N Balance, Defoliation, Pine Sawfly, Soil, Topography

Authors’ address

Maiju Kosunen
Tuula Kantola
Mike Starr
Minna Blomqvist
Mervi Talvitie
Päivi Lyytikäinen-Saarenmaa
Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 27 (Latokartanonkaari 7), FI-00014 Helsinki (Finland)

Corresponding author



Kosunen M, Kantola T, Starr M, Blomqvist M, Talvitie M, Lyytikäinen-Saarenmaa P (2016). Influence of soil and topography on defoliation intensity during an extended outbreak of the common pine sawfly (Diprion pini L.). iForest 10: 164-171. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2069-009

Academic Editor

Massimo Faccoli

Paper history

Received: Mar 26, 2016
Accepted: Oct 18, 2016

First online: Nov 19, 2016
Publication Date: Feb 28, 2017
Publication Time: 1.07 months

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