Evaluating Habitat Suitability for the Establishment of Monochamus spp. through Climate-Based Niche Modeling
Pine sawyer beetle species of the genus Monochamus are vectors of the nematode pest Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. The introduction of these species into new habitats is a constant threat for those regions where the forestry industry depends on conifers, and especially on species of Pinus. To obtain information about the potential risk of establishment of these insects in Chile, we performed climate-based niche modeling using data for five North American and four Eurasian Monochamus species using a Maxent approach. The most important variables that account for current distribution of these species are total annual precipitation and annual and seasonal average temperatures, with some differences between North American and Eurasian species. Projections of potential geographic distribution in Chile show that all species could occupy at least 37% of the area between 30° and 53°S, where industrial plantations of P. radiata are concentrated. Our results indicated that Chile seems more suitable for Eurasian than for North American species.