MPB outbreak


The objective of this course is to provide students with a biological basis for recognizing, diagnosing, and managing diseases and insects affecting forests and forest resources. Students will become familiar with the roles that insects and diseases play in natural ecosystem processes such as gap formation, nutrient cycling, and succession, as well as the challenges these biotic agents pose to sustainable management. The general principles of plant pathology, entomology, and pest management are introduced, followed by descriptions of the specific insects and disease agents involved.

Specifically, students will learn to:

  1. recognize and identify the major tree diseases and insects of the forests of the Pacific Northwest and to assess their actual or potential impacts on various forest resources;
  2. recognize and interpret insect and disease signs and symptoms of forest and shade trees around the world, with emphasis on boreal and temperate forests;
  3. understand the biology of some of the important forest insects and diseases of western North America, and consider the potential for climate change to affect pest biology and impacts;
  4. integrate forest pathology and entomology considerations appropriately into forest management plans.

Instructors and TAs

Dr. Richard Hamelin
Jordan Burke
Stanley Pokorny (TA)
Barbara Wong (TA)


Course Organization

Excluding holidays, there will be 35 lectures and 10 laboratory sessions.  Given that biotic disturbances in the world’s forest are primarily caused by either pathogens or insects, the course will be divided into 2 segments – pathology and entomology.  Each segment will have it’s own lab project, final exam and lab exam (see marking scheme below).

Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 14:00 FSC 1221
Labs: Section 1 – Wednesday 14:00 to 16:00 FSC 1310
Section 2 – Wednesday 16:00 to 18:00 FSC 1310
Section 3 – Thursday 14:00 to 16:00 FSC 1310



Pathology exam 30%
Pathology lab project 10%
Pathology lab exam 10%
Entomology exam 30%
Entomology lab project 10%
Entomology lab exam 10%

To pass the course students must obtain at least 50 % overall. Students who miss an exam or are unable to complete an assignment by the due date must contact the Instructor at the earliest possible date to determine whether a suitable accommodation can be made. Failure to do so will result in a grade of zero.

Lecture material

Lecture notes will be posted on the course web site at least one hour before each lecture. Please note that while the posted lecture notes will be comprehensive, they will not necessarily capture all of the information delivered verbally by the Instructor for which students will be responsible during exams.

Useful Reference Material

Although there is no required textbook, there are a quite a number of sources of reference material that will be useful to students; particularly for the laboratory portion of the course. Sources of useful material are listed below:


  • Edmonds, R.L., Agee, J.K. and Gara R.I. 2011. Forest Health and Protection. Second Edition. McGraw-Hill, New York.
  • Coulson, R.N. and Witter, J.A. 1984. Forest Entomology: Ecology and Management. Wiley & Sons, New York.
  • Berryman, A.A. 1986. Forest Insects: Principles and Practice of Population Management. Plenum Press, New York and London. 1986.
  • Speight, M.R. and Wainhouse, D. 1989. Ecology and Management of Forest Insects. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Manion, P.D. 1991. Tree Disease Concepts. 2nd Edition. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
  • Agrios, G.N. 1988. Plant Pathology. 3rd Edition. Academic Press, New York.

Handbooks and Field Guides

These resources are useful for identification of specific biotic agents in western forests, and often provide short discussions of biology and management. All are available from the MacMillan Library. Most can be obtained free of charge by writing to the relevant agencies.

  • Henigman, J., Ebata, T., Allen, E., Holt, J. and Pollard, A. (editors) 1999. Field Guide to Forest Damage in British Columbia. BC Ministry of Forests and Canadian Forest Service Joint Publication No. 17. 348 p.
  • Allen, E., Morrison, D. and Wallis, G. 1996. Common tree diseases of British Columbia. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, BC. 178 p.
  • Hiratsuka, Y. 1987. Forest Tree Diseases of the Prairie Provinces. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Information Report NOR-X-286, Edmonton, AB. 126 p.

Internet Resources: (Canadian Forest Service pest leaflets) (Field Guide to Forest Damage in BC) (Forest and Shade Tree Pathology) (forestry-related images, including many insects/diseases)