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Forest management has reduced the structural diversity of residual boreal old-growth forest landscapes in Eastern Canada

Martin Maxence, Boucher Yan, Fenton Nicole J., Marchand Philippe et Morin Hubert. (2020). Forest management has reduced the structural diversity of residual boreal old-growth forest landscapes in Eastern Canada. Forest Ecology and Management, 458, (117765), p. 1-10.

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The impact of traditional even-aged forest management on landscape age structure, tree composition, and connectivity has been well documented. Very little, however, is known about the impact on stand structural diversity. This study aims to compare the structural and abiotic characteristics of forest stands disturbed by clearcut logging and by stand-replacing fire in Quebec’s boreal landscapes. We hypothesized that unlike fire, logging specifically targeted stands having a higher economic value, i.e., merchantable volume, leaving altered forest characteristics on post-harvested landscapes. We compared two aerial forest surveys of a 2200 km2 study area, one survey completed before any logging activity (preindustrial survey; 1980s), and the second survey collected >10 years after logging activity (modern survey; 2000s). Forest stands at the time of the preindustrial survey were primary forests. We identified stands as either burned, logged, or left aside after forest management of the area (remaining stands) between the two surveys and compared their structural and abiotic characteristics using logistic regression. The structural and abiotic characteristics of burned and logged stands differed significantly. Relative to the burned stands, logged stands were older, denser, and marked by poorer drainage and a higher proportion of black spruce; therefore post-harvest and post-burn landscapes differed in terms of their structural diversities. Traditional even-aged forest management has significantly altered the boreal forest landscape by targeting specific old forest stands having higher economic value and leaving behind stands of lower economic value. Remaining high economic stands should be protected, and a more balanced approach to harvesting must be used in the context of ecosystem-based management.

Type de document:Article publié dans une revue avec comité d'évaluation
Pages:p. 1-10
Version évaluée par les pairs:Oui
Date:4 Décembre 2020
Sujets:Sciences naturelles et génie > Sciences naturelles > Biologie et autres sciences connexes
Département, module, service et unité de recherche:Départements et modules > Département des sciences fondamentales
Mots-clés:forest fire, disturbance dynamics, forestry practices, preindustrial landscape, overmature forests, ecosystem-based management
Déposé le:18 févr. 2020 22:19
Dernière modification:04 déc. 2020 05:10
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