Changes in major insect pests of pine forests in Korea over the last 50 years.
Understanding the occurrence patterns of forest pests is fundamental for effective forest management from both economic and ecological perspectives. Here, we review the history of the occurrence patterns and causes of outbreaks and declines of pests in Korean pine forests over the last 50 years. During this period, the major pests of pine forests in Korea have shifted from pine caterpillar (Dendrolimus spectabilis Butler) to the pine needle gall midge (PNGM, Thecodiplosis japonensis (Uchida and Inouye)) and finally to pine wilt disease (PWD) caused by the pine wood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Steiner and Buhrer) Nickle). Outbreaks of pine caterpillar, a native species in Korea, have been recorded as far back as 900 years, and it was the most relevant forest pest in Korea until the 1970s. The decline of its importance has been attributed to reforestation and higher levels of subsequent natural enemy activity. The PNGM is an invasive species, first discovered in Korea in 1929, that became widely distributed by 1992 and the major forest pest in the 1980s and 1990s. A suite of parasitic wasps attacking the PNGM contributed at least partially to the decline of PNGM densities. Following the decline of the PNGM, damage from PWD has increased since 2003. These shifts in major forest pests might be related to changes in forest composition and interactions among forest pests. Therefore, a new management strategy for controlling forest pests is required to mitigate the decline of pine forests in Korea.