Canadian Forest Service Publications

Simulation and analysis of the effect of a spruce budworm outbreak on carbon dynamics in boreal forests of Quebec. 2019. Liu, Z.; Peng, C.; De Grandpré, L.; Candau, J.-N.; Work, T.; Huang, C.; Kneeshaw, D. Ecosystems 22: 1838-1851.

Year: 2019

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39985

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1007/s10021-019-00377-7

† This site may require a fee

Mark record


In a climate change context, the sequestration of atmospheric carbon (C) in forests is key for achieving emission targets. It is thus critical to understand how large-scale disturbances are affecting the overall forest C stocks. C dynamics in North American boreal forest ecosystems are strongly affected by the defoliation and mortality that occurs during a spruce budworm (SBW) outbreak. We used forest inventory geospatial databases, monthly climate data, spatially explicit defoliation sequence data, and the TRIPLEX-Insect model to simulate C dynamics with and without SBW disturbances in stands with different vulnerability to the SBW in the boreal forest of Quebec. Our results showed that SBW defoliation and related mortality decreased the average aboveground biomass and belowground biomass by 5.96% and 6.94% by 2017, respectively. At the same time, 21,046 km2 of forest were converted from a C sink to a source. This study provides the first quantitative analysis of the effect of a SBW outbreak on carbon dynamics for three different boreal stand types (that is, fir, spruce, and mixed fir-spruce) at a regional scale. Our results suggested that younger fir forests lost less C than either fir-spruce or spruce forests during SBW attacks between 2007 and 2017 in Quebec. This highlights the importance of considering species composition when assessing vulnerability or resilience.