Canadian Forest Service Publications

Succession forestière après feu dans la sapinière à bouleau jaune du Bas-Saint-Laurent, Québec. 1997. Archambault, L.; Morissette, J.L.; Bernier-Cardou, M. The Forestry Chronicle 73 : 702-710.

Year: 1997

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 16763

Language: French

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Forest successions following a forest fire that occurred in 1932 were studied on mesic sites of the boreal mixedwood forest of the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Quebec, Canada. Physiographic, soil and vegetation data were collected in 28 ecosystems distributed on a topographic gradient. The vegetation composition of the main canopy, 64 years after the fire, varied according to topographic situation. The proportion of tolerant hardwood species (yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton), sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.), red maple (Acer rubrum L.)) increased toward upper slopes whereas it was the opposite for coniferous species (white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss), balsam fir (Abies balsamea [L.] Mill.)), as their proportion increased toward lower slopes. Intolerant hardwood species (white birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.)) were abundant in all ecosystems. The distribution pattern of regeneration density and stocking of tolerant hardwoods and conifers was similar to that of the main canopy. The majority of commercial species, including tolerant species, established rapidly after the fire. Only eastern white cedar (Thuya occidentalis L.), which is a species typical of late succession, did not grow back. Ten years after the fire, 78% of the sampled dominant trees were established. Competition caused by mountain maple (Acer spicatum Lam.) did not seem to be as important after fire compared with the situation after clearcutting. Results showed that after the elimination of intolerant species, the vegetation composition should evolve toward the potential vegetation (climax) of the toposequence, that is, the sugar maple - yellow birch type on upper slopes, the balsam fir - yellow birch type on midslopes and the balsam fir - yellow birch - cedar type on lower slopes.