Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Sciences and Resources: Biology


Environmental Science and Management

Physical Description

5, xii, 101 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


Lodgepole pine -- Diseases and pests, Dwarf mistletoes




Dwarf mistletoes are Parasitic flowering plants that infect conifer tree species. The effects of Arceuthobium americanum on the seed crop of Pinus contorta were examined over a two year period to evaluate the effects of altered host reproductive success on host population dynamics. Heavily infected trees produced significantly fewer cones than uninfected trees during the first season in which cones were collected. Cone length, number of seeds per cone, individual seed mass, and total calories per seed were significantly reduced in moderately and heavily infected trees. Trees with different levels of infection showed trends consistent with the above but no significant differences were observed during the second season. The number of seeds that were produced, disseminated, and that germinated per square meter of forest floor was significantly less in heavily infected plots than in lightly infected plots. Survival of one year old seedlings, however, was significantly higher in heavily infected plots. Significant increases in the abundance of woody litter due to increases in mortality of mature trees and witches brooms were positively correlated with increases in seedling survival in heavily infected plots. Survival of trees less than 45 years of age also increased as the level of infection in plots increased. This increases the fraction of total density that saplings represent in heavily infected stands. The total basal area of plots with different levels of infection were uniform, implying that all available environmental resources are being utilized. The differences in age distribution between lightly and heavily infected plots, however, indicate that resources are partitioned differently between saplings and mature trees in plots with different levels of infection. Dominant host trees experienced higher mortality in heavily infected plots than in lightly infected plots. This reduces the total biomass of all mature trees. Increased mortality of dominant host trees frees resources which reduces intraspecific competition thereby contributing to increased sapling survival in heavily infected plots. Consequently, stand density increases as the level of infection increases.


Portland State University. Environmental Sciences and Resources Ph. D. Program.

Persistent Identifier