Due to the vast impact that the spruce budworm has had and potentially will have on the forestlands of Maine, the SBW has long been the focus of UMaine researchers. In Collaboration with the Center for Research on Sustainable Forests via the Northeastern States Research Cooperative and the Cooperative Forestry Research Unit, recent research projects targeting the SBW in Maine include:
- Development of an accurate and near real time remote sensing methodology to rapidly detect and monitor locations, severity, and spread risk of SBW forest defoliation and to produce high resolution spatial maps that will show early stage detection and monitoring of the expected outbreak in Maine using Sentinel-2 and Landsat data.
- Establish predictive models of larval abundance from trap catch and forest/environmental variables. Linking larval densities to trap counts and influential environmental covariates will provide landowners with a sound, science‐based strategy for prioritizing treatment of vulnerable host stands to reduce overall risk and to mitigate future losses.
- Modification the Acadian Variant of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) to account for budworm impacts on trees and stands which will provide Northern Forest managers with improved growth and yield projections and the ability to assess the potential impact of spruce budworm outbreaks on wood supply and forest level planning through the Spruce Budworm Decision Support System.
- Development of a unified and comprehensive method to add accuracy to aerial sketch maps in order to: improve historical budworm defoliation maps for Maine, to identify and model potential landscape factors affecting budworm outbreak patterns, and to predict budworm risk at a high spatial resolution for the next outbreak in Maine.
- Validation of the LANDIS-II budworm model behavior against observed budworm damage in the previous outbreak. This should serve as a critical benchmark for confidence in model projections of future outbreak behavior and guide model adjustments for application of the model to the forests of northern Maine.
- Using FIA data, FVS simulation, and empirical modeling, researchers plan to quantify a range of outcomes for alternative silvicultural interventions to mitigate impacts of a future budworm outbreak in the Northern Forest.