A decision support system to help foresters predict and reduce damage and costs due to large pine weevil, Hylobius abietis.
Hylobius can cause extensive feeding damage to young trees used to restock clearfell sites but damage is often highly variable. Previously it has not been possible to predict damage and so insecticides have been routinely used to protect the trees to try to safeguard this valuable young crop. However, on clearfells where Hylobius numbers are low this treatment may be unnecessary and conversely when numbers are very high the treatment may be unable to protect the trees. Both of these situations result in losses in valuable resources.
Aims of the Hylobius MSS
- To help foresters plan future clearfell restocking strategies to minimise transplant damage by Hylobius
- To help avoid unnecessary insecticide use and initial restock failure
- To reduce top-up insecticide applications and beating up of destroyed transplants
- To help users meet operational goals for restocking and satisfy requirements of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS)
- To reduce overall costs of restocking by helping managers make informed, site-specific decisions.
What is the Hylobius MSS?
- User-friendly on-line software, based on Hylobius population size, that predicts damage to transplants on clearfells in advance of restocking
- A decision support tool to allow foresters to investigate the best management strategies to reduce Hylobius damage, insecticide use and costs of restocking clearfells.
Reduced costs of restocking achieved primarily through reduced insecticide use and reduced beat ups.
The Hylobius MSS can be used to help decide on the:
- Best time to restock sites to reduce damage
- Type of transplants (treated or untreated)
- Need to apply insecticide ‘top-ups’ and number of ‘top-ups’ required
- Most effective timing of ‘top-ups’
- Priority sites for ‘top-up’ operations in each year
- Likely effects of Hylobius control programmes
- Cost implications of these management strategies
- Compliance with stated objectives of FSC and UKWAS
- In the near future it will also be possible to predict the effectiveness of other transplant protection measures (e.g. tree guards).
The real power of the Hylobius MSS is that it is being developed to determine the effects of changes in management strategies both alone and in combination on a site-specific basis. It reduces the risks inherent in management practices based on assuming 'average' severity and duration of Hylobius attacks.
How it works
Basic site information, site operational costs (defaults available) and Hylobius monitoring data are input to the system. Once entered users can either investigate:
- Their preferred management strategy to achieve successful restocking or
- An ‘optimised’ strategy automatically generated by the Hylobius MSS software.
How can I access the Hylobius MSS?
The Hylobius MSS is available by annual subscription.
A condition of access to the Hylobius MSS is that users/user groups first undergo training in Hylobius monitoring and the use of the web-based system (see below).
Subsequently, Hylobius MSS users must register and pay for access to the system and this will also ensure subsequent software and technical support. During registration each user (or user group) will have to inform Forest Research of the number of sites they wish to manage using the system during the following year.
Once subscription has been confirmed a username and password will be issued and these are required to log onto the system for entry and retrieval of clearfell site management information from the system servers.
Once registered on the system the link on the top right can be used to access the system.
Help and Training
General training courses to learn how to monitor Hylobius populations and use the Hylobius MSS software are jointly run by Forestry Commission Learning and Development and Forest Research Centre for Forestry and Climate Change. These generally take place annually in April/May and July just prior to the times when population monitoring should be carried out. Details of upcoming courses can be found on Forest Research’s events pages. Courses cost approximately £80 per person (based on 2008 charges).
We hope to develop on-line training documentation in the future.
The billet monitoring element of the Hylobius MSS can also be offered by Forest Research Technical Services Unit.
Frequently asked questions about the Hylobius MSS
- Why are there subscription charges for Hylobius MSS?
- What can I do to help reduce the cost/ha of subscription charges?
- Will subscription charges for the Hylobius MSS change?
- Why use web-based delivery?
Where can I find out more about the Hylobius MSS?
Act now to register your interest in using the Hylobius MSS software which is now available by annual subscription.
Contact the Forest Research Hylobius MSS Team to subscribe or discuss your requirements and any questions you may have.
To register and subscribe or to discuss your requirements and answer your questions contact:
Dr Roger Moore
Northern Research Station
Tel: 0131 4456923