iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Forests and climate change - lessons from insects

Andrea Battisti   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 1-5 (2008)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0210-0010001
Published: Feb 28, 2008 - Copyright © 2008 SISEF

Review Papers

The climate change may indirectly affects the forest ecosystems through the activity of phytophagous insects. The climate change has been claimed to be responsible of the range expansion northward and upward of several insect species of northern temperate forests, as well as of changes in the seasonal phenology. Several papers have dealt with the prediction of the most likely consequences of the climate change on the phytophagous insects, including some of the most important forest pests. Increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere involve an increase of the C/N balance of the plant tissues, which in turn results in a lower food quality for many defoliating insects. Some insects respond by increasing the level of leaf consumption and consequently the damage to the tree, whereas others show higher mortality and lower performance. The level of plant chemical defences may also be affected by a change of CO2. The temperature is affecting either the survival of the insects which are active during the cold period, such as the pine processionary moth, or the synchronization mechanism between the host and the herbivores, as in the case of the larch bud moth. An increase of temperature may alter the mechanism by which the insects adjust their cycles to the local climate (diapause), resulting in faster development and higher feeding rate, as in the case of the spruce web-spinning sawfly outbreaks in the Southern Alps.


temperature, phenology, range, host-insect relationships

Authors’ address

Andrea Battisti
Dipartimento Agronomia Ambientale e Produzioni Vegetali, Università di Padova, Via Università 16 - Agripolis, I-35020 Legnaro, Padova, Italy

Corresponding author

Andrea Battisti


Battisti A (2008). Forests and climate change - lessons from insects. iForest 1: 1-5. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0210-0010001

Paper history

Received: Oct 18, 2007
Accepted: Oct 24, 2007

First online: Feb 28, 2008
Publication Date: Feb 28, 2008
Publication Time: 4.23 months

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