Differences in forest composition in two boreal forest ecoregions of Quebec

Authors

  • Sylvie Gauthier,

    Corresponding author
    1. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry Centre, P.O. Box 3800, 1055 du P.E.P.S, Sainte-Foy, Qc, Canada, G1V 4C7
    2. Groupe de recherche en écologie forestière interuniversitaire (GREFi), Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, Qc, Canada, H3C 3P8
      *Corresponding author; Fax +1418 648 5849; E-mail sgauthier@cfl.forestry.ca
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  • Louis De Grandpré,

    1. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry Centre, P.O. Box 3800, 1055 du P.E.P.S, Sainte-Foy, Qc, Canada, G1V 4C7
    2. Groupe de recherche en écologie forestière interuniversitaire (GREFi), Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, Qc, Canada, H3C 3P8
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  • Yves Bergeron

    1. Groupe de recherche en écologie forestière interuniversitaire (GREFi), Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, Qc, Canada, H3C 3P8
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*Corresponding author; Fax +1418 648 5849; E-mail sgauthier@cfl.forestry.ca

Abstract

Abstract. In order to describe and compare the post-fire succession patterns of the two ecological regions (mixed-wood and coniferous ecoregions) of northwestern Quebec, 260 forest stands were sampled with the point-centred plot method. The mixed-wood ecological region belongs to the Abies balsamea-Betula papyrifera bioclimatic domain whereas the coniferous ecological region belongs to the Picea mariana-moss bioclimatic domain. In each plot, tree composition was described, surficial deposits and drainage were recorded, and fire history was reconstructed using standard dendro-ecological methods. Ordination techniques (Correspondence Analysis and Canonical Correspondence Analysis) were used to describe the successional patterns of forest vegetation and to correlate them with the explanatory variables. The results showed the importance of surficial deposits, the time since fire and the ecoregion in explaining the variation of stand composition. Abies balsamea tends to increase in importance with an increase in time since fire, and this trend is more pronounced in the mixed-wood region. Even when controlling both for surficial deposits and time since fire, differences in successional trends were observed between the two ecoregions. As all the species are present in both ecoregions and as they are all observed further north, our results suggest that both the landscape configuration and fire regime parameters such as fire size and fire intensity are important factors involved in these differences.

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