Post-wildfire seedbeds and tree establishment in the southern mixedwood boreal forest

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Abstract:

We studied the post-wildfire establishment of jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.), black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP), and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) in the southern mixedwood boreal forest of Saskatchewan, Canada. The major objective of the study was to determine the influence of post-wildfire seedbed types on the juvenile survivorship of trees. Through a combination of permanent plots and sowing experiments, we demonstrated that mineral soil, thin Polytrichum Hedw. moss, and humus are much more favorable than the organic fermentation (Of) and litter seedbeds. We also show that differences among seedbeds are significantly more important than differences among species. In addition, the first year of a cohort has the highest rate of mortality, about 85% on mineral and humus seedbeds and 98% on Of seedbeds; differences in age-specific survivorship between seedbeds become muted by the end of the second year, and survivorship rates approach 1 by the end of the third summer. Finally, age structures showed that germination rates of black spruce and jack pine were very low the initial summer of the fire; that there was a peak in recruitment in the first post-fire summer; and that by the fourth year the recruitment declined to nearly zero.

À la suite d'un feu naturel, nous avons étudié l'implantation du pin gris (Pinus banksiana Lamb.), de l'épinette noire (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) et de l'épinette blanche (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) dans la forêt boréale mixe du Sud de la Saskatchewan, au Canada. L'objectif majeur de cette recherche était de déterminer l'influence des substrats présents après feu sur la survie juvénile des semis. En utilisant des places-échantillons permanentes et des ensemencements, nous démontrons que le sol minéral, l'humus et les minces couches de Polytrichum Hedw. sont plus favorables que la couche organique de fermentation (Of) et la litière de feuillus. Nous démontrons aussi que les différences dans les taux de survie entre les substrats sont significativement plus importantes que celles entre les espèces. De plus, une cohorte subit un plus haut taux de mortalité la première année, soit environ 85 % sur le sol minéral et l'humus et 98 % sur la couche Of. Les différences dans les taux de survie selon l'âge s'estompent à la fin de la deuxième année et les taux approchent 1 à la fin du troisième été. Finalement, les stuctures d'âges démontrent que les taux de germination de l'épinette noire et du pin gris sont très bas l'été pendant lequel survient un feu, que le recrutement culmine pendant le premier été suivant le feu, et qu'il approche zéro à la fin de la quatrième année.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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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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