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Mortality in black spruce stands of fire or clear-cut origin

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The mortality pattern of 14 black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) stands from the Saguenay region (Quebec), originating from fire or clear-cutting in the early 20th century, was reconstructed based on the dendrochronological dating of dead trees. Most of the spruces died during the 1970s and 1980s, which suggests the possible impact of the most recent spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana Clem.) outbreak. This hypothesis is supported by the observation of major growth reductions synchronous with known outbreak periods and by the existence of a significant partial correlation between the mortality rates and the occurrence of outbreaks. A significant partial correlation between the mortality rates and the relative density of the studied stands suggests that competition amongst individuals might act as a predisposing factor to the death of trees, while the outbreaks act as an inciting factor. The observed mortality pattern is similar to self-thinning, since most of the dead trees were from the smallest size classes.

Le patron de mortalité de 14 pessières noires (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) de la région du Saguenay (Québec), issues de coupe ou de feu datant du début du 20e siècle, a été reconstitué à partir de la datation dendrochronologique des tiges mortes. La plupart des arbres sont morts durant les années 1970 et 1980, ce qui suggère l'influence possible de la dernière épidémie de la tordeuse des bourgeons de l'épinette (Choristoneura fumiferana Clem.) (TBE). Cette hypothèse est corroborée par la présence de baisses importantes de croissance synchrones avec les périodes d'épidémies connues, ainsi que l'existence d'une corrélation partielle significative entre le taux de mortalité et l'occurrence d'épidémies. De plus, une corrélation partielle significative entre le taux de mortalité et la densité relative des peuplements suggère que la compétition entre individus puisse agir comme facteur « prédisposant » au décès des arbres tandis que la défoliation par la TBE agirait comme facteur « déclenchant » entraînant la mort des arbres. Le patron de mortalité observé s'apparente au phénomène d'autoéclaircie, la grande majorité des décès ayant été observés parmi les plus petites tiges du peuplement.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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