Canadian Forest Service Publications

Does the post-fire organic layer compress beneath the snowpack? 2010. Splawinski, T.B.; Greene, D.F.; Gauthier, S.; Bergeron, Y. International Journal of Wildland Fire 19: 673-676.

Year: 2010

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 31810

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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It is well known that post-fire duff layers that are thin or of lower porosity greatly enhance juvenile survivorship of sexually recruiting boreal plant species. Nonetheless, there has been no study on duff compaction by snow following charring. We examined post-fire duff depth for the first 3 years (two winters) after a 2006 wildfire in the boreal forest of north-western Quebec. We found that (1) significant compression was common, with (2) a positive relationship between the initial thickness of the burned organic layer depth and the subsequent amount of compression. The proportional compression rate was, however, roughly constant: ~14% after 2 years regardless of initial post-fire duff depth. We conclude that this amount of compression is too little to significantly impact post-fire seedling recruitment.