Great Basin Naturalist


Douglas-fir tussock moth (Orgyia pseudotsugata McDunnough) defoliation was detected by aerial survey on three areas of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in 1990 and 1991. These are the first documented tussock moth outbreaks in Utah. Ground surveys revealed that subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa [Hook.] Nutt.) was heavily defoliated during the outbreak. Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franco), though minor component in the affected areas, had noticeably less defoliation and mortality. Adjacent stands of Douglas-fir had little or no visible tussock moth activity. Defoliation on subalpine fir was typically found evenly distributed throughout the crown rather than concentrated at the top. Ninety-four percent of subalpine fir with defoliation ratings of 90% or more were killed. Top-kill occurred on nearly one-half of subalpine firs defoliated 25–89%. Heavy defoliated trees tended to occur in pockets bounded by areas of light defoliation. After three consecutive years of defoliation, tussock moth populations collapsed. No life stages were detected in 1993 from visual inspections of foliage or in pheromone traps.