The eight-toothed spruce bark beetle ( Ips typographus ) is the most serious insect pest in Central European forests. During the past two decades, extreme meteorological events and subsequent beetle infestations have killed millions of cubic meters of standing spruce trees. Not all the infested stands could be cleared in time, and priorities in management had to be set. Natural or man-made buffer zones of about 500 meters in width are frequently defined to separate differently managed stands in Central Europe. While the buffer zones seem to be effective in most of the cases, their impact has not been studied in detail. Beetle densities were therefore assessed in three case studies using pheromone traps along transects, leading from infested stands into spruce-free buffer zones. The results of the trap catches allow an estimation of the buffer zone influence on densities and the dispersal of Ips typographus . Beetle densities were found to decrease rapidly with increasing distance from the infested spruce stands. The trap catches were below high-risk thresholds within a few hundred meters of the infested stands. The decrease in catches was more pronounced in open land and in an urban area than in a broadleaf stand. Designed buffer zones of 500 m width without spruce can therefore very probably help to reduce densities of spreading beetles.
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