Nonparametric upscaling of bark beetle infestations and management from plot to landscape level by combining individual-based with Markov chain models

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


Linked to climate change, drivers such as increased temperatures and decreased water availability affect forest health in complex ways by simultaneously weakening tree vitality and promoting insect pest activity. One major beneficiary of climate-induced changes is the European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus). To improve the mechanistic understanding of climate change impacts on long-term beetle infestation risks, individual-based simulation models (IBM) such as the bark beetle dispersion model IPS-SPREADS have been proven as effective tools. However, the computational costs of IBMs limit their spatial scale of application. While these tools are best suitable to simulate bark beetle dynamics on the plot level, upscaling the process to larger areas is challenging. The larger spatial scale is, nevertheless, often required to support the selection of adequate management intervention. Here, we introduce a novel two-step approach to address this challenge: (1) we use the IPS-SPREADS model to simulate the bark beetle dispersal at a local scale by dividing the research area into 250 × 250 m grid cells; and (2) we then apply a metamodel framework to upscale the results to the landscape level. The metamodel is based on Markov chains derived from the infestation probabilities of IPS-SPREADS results and extended by considering neighbor interaction and spruce dieback of each focal cell. We validated the metamodel by comparing its predictions with infestations observed in 2017 and 2018 in the Saxon Switzerland national park, Germany, and tested sanitation felling as a measure to prevent potential further outbreaks in the region. Validation showed an improvement in predictions by introducing the model extension of beetle spreading from one cell to another. The metamodel forecasts indicated an increase in the risk of infestation for adjacent forest areas. In case of a beetle mass outbreak, sanitation felling intensities of 80 percent and above seem to mitigate further outbreak progression.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-144
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Forest Research
Volume 142 (2023)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85140962250
ORCID /0000-0002-1232-6062/work/142238886
ORCID /0000-0003-0446-4665/work/142246255
ORCID /0000-0001-6920-136X/work/142247180


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

Sustainable Development Goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Agent-based model, Ips typographus, Long-term forecast, Metamodel, Risk assessment, Upscaling