Canadian Forest Service Publications

Distribution of saproxylic beetles in a recently burnt landscape of the northern boreal forest of Québec. 2010. Boulanger, Y.; Sirois, L.; Hébert, C. Forest Ecology and Management 260: 1114-1123.

Year: 2010

Available from: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 31848

Language: English

CFS Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)


This study evaluated the importance of burned habitat characteristics as well as the likely dispersal from specific habitats in the distribution of saproxylic beetles the same year as a fire occurred, in burned black spruce stands (Picea mariana [Mill] B.S.P.) in the northern boreal forest of Québec. The distribution of early post-fire saproxylic species was mainly driven by burned habitat attributes at the plot scale (0.04 ha), especially fire severity, suggesting that the effect of environment attributes can act at a relatively fine scale. Some xylophagous and most predaceous species were more abundant in severely burned stands whereas fire severity had the opposite effect on several common mycophagous species. The amount of newly fire-killed trees that could be used as breeding substrates in the burned stands had only a weak positive influence on these functional groups. The great majority of early saproxylic species were weakly associated with the distance from unburned forests or other recently burned patches that could act as potential “source habitats”. Indeed, these variables were of lesser importance than the attributes of the burned habitat. Woody debris that were already present in plots before the fire, potentially serving as local of source-populations for early colonizers, had virtually no influence on the local abundance of species. Many saproxylic species, including some true pyrophilous, clearly showed higher abundance as distance from unburned stands increased. This unexpected relation may reflect that dispersal of insects toward the burnt landscape very shortly after fire could be driven by the higher amount of volatiles released by severely burned forests, which are more likely as distance from unburned forest increased.

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