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Effects of Mexican dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium vaginatum subsp. vaginatum) on the growth of Pinus cooperi in Durango, Mexico—A case study

González‐Elizondo, Martha, Flores‐Villegas, Mónica Yazmín, Álvarez‐Zagoya, Rebeca, González‐Elizondo, M. Socorro, Márquez‐Linares, Marco A., Quiñonez‐Barraza, Sergio, Howell, Brian E., Mathiasen, Robert L.
Forest pathology 2019 v.49 no.1 pp. e12473
Arceuthobium vaginatum, Pinus, case studies, coniferous forests, harvesting, hosts, parasitic plants, parasitism, timber production, tree diseases, trees, Mexico
Mexican dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium vaginatum subsp. vaginatum, Viscaceae) is the most widespread and damaging parasitic plant in Mexico. It parasitizes 10 species of pines (Pinus spp., Pinaceae) as principal hosts, including Pinus cooperi, one of the economically most important pines in the state of Durango. As a case study, we used stem analysis to estimate the effects of Mexican dwarf mistletoe on volume and height growth of dwarf mistletoe‐infected P. cooperi in western Durango (Ejido El Brillante, Municipality Pueblo Nuevo). This case study sampled a total of 48 trees, 12 in each of four infection classes estimated using the 6‐class dwarf mistletoe rating system (DMR): uninfected (DMR 0), lightly infected (DMR 1–2), moderately infected (DMR 3–4) and severely infected (DMR 5–6). Significant reductions in both volume and height growth were found for moderately and severely infected trees when compared to uninfected trees. On average, reductions in volume growth and height growth were as high as 50% and 17%, respectively. The largest growth reductions were for moderately infected trees, but large growth reductions also occurred for severely infected trees. Because of the reduced growth associated with moderate to severe infection, Mexican dwarf mistletoe‐infested pine forests in Durango, where timber production is a high priority, should be managed using harvesting practices that reduce dwarf mistletoe infection, and thereby, increase forest productivity.