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Effects of late Holocene wildfires on diatom assemblages in Christina Lake, Alberta, Canada

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Abstract:

The impact of forest fires on a boreal lake ecosystem was investigated in a discontinuous paleolimnological study of Christina Lake, in the mixedwood subregion of the boreal forest in northern Alberta (Canada). Diatom assemblages were examined below, within, and above charcoal-rich horizons in a sediment core, which represent local fire events. The total diatom concentration as well as the benthic to planktonic taxa ratio increased during charcoal peaks, but no detectable impact on taxa richness was observed. Diatom assemblage responses to fires generally lasted less than 5 years. Inter-taxa competition appears to be a major factor determining diatom assemblages in Christina Lake.

L'impact des feux de forêt a été examiné lors d'une étude paléolimnologique du lac Christina qui se situe dans la forêt boréale mixte du Nord de l'Alberta (Canada). Les assemblages de diatomées ont été comptés et identifiés dans les horizons sédimentaires avant, pendant et après chaque épisode de feu qui se reflète par une quantité plus importante de charbon dans les sédiments. L'abondance totale des diatomées ainsi que le rapport des taxa benthiques sur les taxa planctoniques augmentent lors de chaque pic de charbon, mais aucun impact sur la richesse n'a pu être décelé. En général les épisodes de feux influençaient les communautés de diatomées sur une période de moins de 5 ans. La compétition inter-spécifique apparaît être un facteur important dans la configuration des assemblages de diatomées et l'abondance relative de certains taxa.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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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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