Canadian Forest Service Publications

Post-fire development of canopy structure and composition in black spruce forests of Abitibi, Québec: A landscape scale study. 2002. Harper, K.A.; Bergeron, Y.; Gauthier, S.; Drapeau, P. Silva Fenn. 36(1): 249-263.

Year: 2002

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 20572

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Fire reconstruction and forest inventory maps provided an opportunity to study changes in stand-level characteristics following fire using a data set comprised of all forest stands of fire origin in an area of over 10 000 km2. We assigned the date of the most recent fire occurrence to over 31 000 forest stands in an ecoforestry database. We categorized stands on different substrates into age classes to investigate differences in canopy composition, cover and height, and incidence of secondary disturbance. Stands with over 75% Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP dominated all age classes on organic sites. On other substrates, there was a change in canopy composition from deciduous stands and stands dominated by Pinus banksiana Lamb. to Picea mariana stands after about 100 yr. This transition was later for xeric sites. After a peak in canopy cover and height at about 100 yr, there was a decrease in the area occupied by stands with dense, tall canopies. Structural development was slower on less productive sites. There was little incidence of spruce budworm outbreaks. Partial disturbance by windthrow coincided with canopy break-up at 100 yr, but appeared to have little effect on overall canopy structure in later stages. Structural diversity was independent of compositional diversity; on organic sites, stands with similar composition had different canopy structure. Diversity of stands with different composition and structure was greatest in the first 150 yr following fire. Maintaining stands in different stages of structural development on the landscape would serve to maintain regional biodiversity.