Canadian Forest Service Publications

Landscape-scale analysis of interactions between insect defoliation and forest fire in central Canada. 2002. Fleming, R.A.; Candau, J.-N.; McAlpine, R.S. Climatic Change 55: 251-272.

Year: 2002

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 20961

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Analysis of Ontario's historical records from 1941–1996 showed that spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana (Clem.) caused whole tree mortality within 389×103 km2. This amounted to 9.2% of the annually cumulative area with moderate-severe defoliation. Large (>2 km2) fires were reported in approximately 65,000 km2 and overlapped only 2.8% of the area of reported spruce budworm (SBW) caused tree mortality. Within the 417× 103 km2 defoliated by SBW at least once in 1941–1996, the maximum total area recorded as defoliated in any year was over 20 times the maximal area burnt. In the 19,950 km2 experiencing both wildfire and SBW defoliation, analysis of the spectra of time lags between the two disturbance types indicated that fires occurred 3–9 years after a SBW outbreak disproportionately often. This `window of opportunity' for wildfire varies geographically: it starts later after SBW outbreak and lasts longer in western than in eastern Ontario. In addition, 7.5% of the areas containing SBW killed trees were burnt in western compared to 4.8% in eastern Ontario. These geographical differences may result at least partly from slower decomposition of dead fuels in the drier climates of the western SBW belt compared to the eastern SBW belt. The implications for climatic change are discussed.