Dendroecological methods play a critical role in developing our understanding of forest processes by contributing historical evidence of climate variability and the temporal characteristics of disturbance. We seek to contribute to these methods by developing a research protocol for decoupling radial-growth signatures related to climate, fire, and insect outbreaks in central Oregon. Our methods are based on three independent, crossdated tree-ring data sets: 1) a 545-year tree-ring climate reconstruction, 2) a 550-year fire history, and 3) a 250-year pandora moth outbreak history derived from host (Pinus ponderosa) and non-host (Abies grandis-Abies concolor) tree-ring chronologies. Based on these data, we use visual criteria (marker and signature rings), statistical comparisons, and Superposed Epoch Analysis (SEA) to identify the timing of growth anomalies and establish the temporal relationships between drought, climate variation (ENSO and PDO), fire events, and pandora moth (Coloradia pandora) outbreaks. Our results show pandora moth outbreaks generally coincide with periods of below-average moisture, whereas fire in central Oregon often follows a period of wetter than average conditions. Fire events in central Oregon appear to be related to shifts in hemispheric climate variability but the relationship between fire and pandora moth outbreaks remains unclear.
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