Canadian Forest Service Publications

Dendroclimatic inference of wildfire activity in Quebec over the 20th century and implications for natural disturbance-based forest management at the northern limit of the commercial forest. 2008. Le Goff, H.; Girardin, M.-P.; Flannigan, M.D.; Bergeron, Y. International Journal of Wildland Fire 17: 348-362.

Year: 2008

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28939

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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We examined the fire–climate relationship at the northern limit of commercial forest in western Quebec, a region where forest management is currently competing with fires for mature stands. The main objective was to determine if a particular climate signal would control the fire activity in this region when compared with other parts of the Quebec boreal forest. We used 500-hPa spatial correlation maps to compare the atmospheric patterns associated with the annual area burned (AAB) in the study area, the entire province of Quebec, the intensive (southern Quebec), and the restricted (northern Quebec) fire management zones. Next, dendroclimatic analyses were used to obtain tree-ring estimates of the AAB back to 1904 and to investigate the temporal stability of the fire–climate relationship. The climate controls associated with the AAB of the study area are intermediate between those associated with the AAB of the intensive and restricted fire management zones. The 500-hPa correlation patterns for the 1948–71 and 1972–2001 periods were relatively stable through time for the study area and for the restricted fire management zone. Our results provide a plausible mechanism for explaining the link between sea surface temperature and regional fire activity established in previous studies. They also provide information complementary to the Canadian fire danger rating system that uses daily weather data.