Levels of damage in Scots pine and Norway spruce caused by needle miners along a SO2 gradient

Ecography 19, 229-236 (1996)

by J. Oksanen, J.K. Holopainen, A. Nerg and T. Holopainen,


Needle damages caused by mining insects on Scots pine and Norway spruce were studied in the vicinity of a pulp mill. The abundance of needles mined by the pine bud moth Exoteleia dodecella L. (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), and the spruce needle miner (Epinotia tedella Cl.) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) on Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) had a significantly peaked response curve on logarithmic distance scale. For pine bud moth, the maximum expected population density was estimated to be at the distance of 1.35km from the factory. The maximum expected population density for the spruce needle miner was at the distance of 1.53km from the factory. However, for both species the curves were significantly different among transects. Both species had a peaked and significant response to sulphur level in needles as well. The maximum expected density in pine was at 1270ppm, and in spruce at 1070ppm sulphur concentration in pine needles. The results are consistent with earlier reports demonstrating that these mining insects frequently attack trees suffering from air pollution. The nonlinear response of both species to distance from the pulp mill suggests that E. dodecella on pine and E. tedella on spruce are rather indicators of the zone of intermediate air pollution than of strongly polluted or nearly unpolluted sites. This also agrees with the plant stress - insect performance hypothesis indicating that insect response varies with the magnitude of stress, and at very high stress levels a tree no longer provides the insects with relevant food.