Analysis and modelling of Lymantria dispar (L.) metapopulation dynamics in Sardinia
Abstract: Sustainable forest management could take advantage from knowing the ecologicalmechanisms underlying provisioning and regulating ecosystem services. The gypsy moth,Lymantria dispar (L.) (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae), is one of the main oak forest defoliators inthe Holarctic Region, and its outbreaks may disrupt ecosystem mechanisms at the basis of forestproductivity and regulation. Most of the analysis and modelling approaches on gypsy mothpopulation dynamics have been applied to a continuous spatial dimension. These approaches donot account for the possible role of highly fragmented forest stands on pest dynamics. Theobjective of this contribution is to analyse the influence of the fragmented landscape structure inSardinian forest areas on gypsy moth spatio-temporal dynamics. The performed analysis is basedon: a) the evaluation of spatial synchrony of population dynamics to account for connectivenessamong local populations in single patches, b) the parameterization of spatially explicitmetapopulation models to describe the forest pest metapopulation dynamics. The estimatedmetapopulation models display interesting properties that could be useful in defining the specificmetapopulation dynamics pattern at forest district level. The proposed approach could be furtherdeveloped and applied to the evaluation of management strategies of the forest pest.