Canadian Forest Service Publications

Fire frequency for the transitional mixedwood forest of Timiskaming, Quebec, Canada. 2005. Grenier, D.J.; Bergeron, Y.; Kneeshaw, D.D.; Gauthier, S. Can. J. For. Res. 35:656-666.

Year: 2005

Available from: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 33472

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/X05-005

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Abstract

Fire history was reconstructed for a 2500-km2 area at the interface between the boreal coniferous and northern hardwood forests of southwestern Quebec. The fire cycle, the time required for an area equal to the study site to burn once over, was described using a random sampling strategy that included dendrochronological techniques in conjunction with provincial and national government archival data. Physiographic elements were not found to spatially influence fire frequency; however, human land-use patterns were observed to significantly affect the fire frequency. A temporal shift in fire frequency was also detected, which coincided with the period of Euro-Canadian colonization and known extreme dry years for the study site. Additionally, a fire-free period was identified in the most recent times that could be associated with fire suppression and climate change. The estimated cycles (approx. 188–314 years) for the southeastern section of the study area were thought to better represent the natural cycles for this transition zone as a result of less anthropogenic influence. The importance of gap-type dynamics becomes evident with the increased presence of old-growth forest, given the derived fire cycle estimations for the region. Even-aged management with short rotations, consequently, is questioned because fire cycle estimations suggest more complex harvest systems using an ecosystem management approach.

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