In November 2004, the Alžbeta windstorm hit the mountainous areas of northern and central Slovakia. The most affected area was Tatra National Park, where downslope wind damaged 12,000 ha of forest, mostly Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.). In the areas with the highest level of nature conservation, about 165,000 m3 of damaged wood was left uncleared. These uncleared sites triggered a serious bark beetle outbreak, where Ips typographus (L.) was among the dominant species. The aim of our work was to quantify and map forest damage resulting from this windstorm and subsequent insect outbreak in Tatra National Park. The objective of this article is also to present simple geographic information system (GIS) techniques available to forest managers for the detection and mapping of bark beetle infestations. The infested areas were studied using GIS and a series of color-infrared aerial photographs taken in 2005–2009. More than 50% of all damage was recorded within 300 m, and more than 75% within 500 m, of uncleared windthrow sites. Based on our findings, we propose reinforcing post-disaster monitoring with an emphasis on (1) data acquisition and processing and (2) management of I. typographus outbreaks. For instance, we recommend using 300-m phytosanitary buffer zones in mountain spruce forests to prevent substantial beetle invasion from uncleared windthrow into adjacent stands.
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