Abstract

The bark beetles Dendroctonus frontalis (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) are a group of coleoptera closely linked to forest masses, and one of the most harmful pests in Mexico, causing the forest cover to be considerably reduced. Additionally factors such as climate change, favor the increase in populations of bark beetles of the genus Dendroctonus. Taking as a hypothesis that altitude and environmental variables affect the behavior in the abundance of D. frontalis, the objective was to estimate the temporary-spatial variation of D. frontalis populations in pine forests at different altitudes. The study was conducted in the community of Durango, Zimapán, Hidalgo, Mexico. An experimental design of paired plots with two treatments was used, pheromone and control. Seven traps were placed with both treatments in a range of 1 568 to 2 117 m.a.s.l. to determine the altitudinal abundance of D. frontalis. The sampling was realized from January to December 2015. A positive relationship was observed between the abundance of D. frontalis and the altitudinal gradient. About the abundance of D. frontalis and the temperature, a moderate but not significant relationship was observed in the same way for the average annual precipitation. The relation with the maximum average temperature and the spring summer precipitation balance were statistically significant. There was a positive trend on the abundance of D. frontalis according to the annual aridity index, which is why it is expected that the increase of temperatures the stress in the vegetation of the forests will be greater, favoring the increase of bark beetles populations.

Keywords: climate change, aridity index, bark beetle, conifer forest, variability, aridity level