Canadian Forest Service Publications
Preindustrial reconstruction of a perhumid midboreal landscape, Anticosti Island, Quebec. 2010. Barrette, M.; Bélanger, L; De Grandpré, L. Can. J. For. Res. 40: 928-942.
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 31998
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The knowledge of natural disturbance dynamics and preindustrial landscapes is essential to implement systainable forest management. Recent findings identify the lack of a forest dynamics model, different from the standard cyclic model of Baskerville (1975. For. Chron. 51: 138-140), for balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) ecosystems of maritime eastern Canada. With the use of historical forest maps and dendrochronology, we reconstructed the range of variability of the preindustrial landscape (6798 km2) and inferred on the natural disturbance dynamics of the balsam fir forest of Anticosti Island. The preindustrial landscape was characterized by a forest matrix of overmature softwood stands with inclusions of younger softwood stands ranging from 0.1 to 7837 ha in size. Widespread stand-initiating events were apparently rare in the preindustrial landscape over the last 160 years. Since our results were not well represented by the cyclic model, which predicts the occurrence of a mosaic of stands in different age classes, we proposed an alternative forest dynamics model for eastern balsam fir ecosystems near the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Forest management inspired by this alternative model may be more appropriate to maintain or restore ecological characteristics of balsam fir forests of this region within their range of natural variability.