Mapping Loblolly Pine Decline Hazard and Risk across the Southeastern United States
Type of Degreethesis
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
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Loblolly Pine Decline was first noted in 1959 in the Oakmulgee and Tuscaloosa Ranger Districts in the Talladega National Forest, located in the southeastern United States. This slow mortality is not new to the area, but is just beginning to be understood and proper management assessed. Loblolly Pine Decline has been detected primarily throughout Alabama and Georgia, but there have been reports from eastern Texas to North Carolina. This study was conducted in the 9 states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and eastern Texas. The study was made up of 678 counties covering approximately 102,836,000 hectares. A comprehensive view of predisposing site factors needed to be developed as a tool to use in managing forests and investments. Previous research has identified the symptomology, fungi, insect vectors, and predisposing factors involved. This project utilized slope and aspect data to further understand how site conditions predispose stands to this decline, and created a comprehensive map for the southeastern United States, from Texas to North Carolina. The map was created using ArcGIS® Arc Map™ 10, Forest Inventory and Analysis Data (United States Forest Service), and ERDAS IMAGINE® 9.3 spatial analyst models. It will serve as a valuable tool to understand loblolly pine sites that are already at risk for Loblolly Pine Decline and thus the proper allocation of resources for management practices. It will also serve as a guide for proper tree species placement on Loblolly Pine Decline Hazard sites to reduce future Loblolly Pine Decline.