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Land use history (1840–2005) and physiography as determinants of southern boreal forests

Boucher Yan, Grondin Pierre et Auger Isabelle. (2014). Land use history (1840–2005) and physiography as determinants of southern boreal forests. Landscape Ecology, 29, (3), p. 437-450.

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Land use history has altered natural disturbance dynamics, causing widespread modifications of the earth's forests. The aim of this study is to reconstruct a regional, spatially-explicit, fire and logging history for a large southern boreal forest landscape (6,050 km2) of eastern Canada. We then examined the long-term influence of land use history, fires, and physiographical gradients on the area's disturbances regimes, present-day age structure and tree species composition. Spatially-explicit fire (1820-2005) and logging (1900-2005) histories were reconstructed from forestry maps, terrestrial forest inventories and historical records (local newspapers, travel notes, regional historical reviews). Logistic regression was used to model the occurrence of major boreal tree species at the regional scale, in relation to their disturbance history and physiographical variables. The interplay of elevation and fire history was found to explain a large part of the present-day distribution of the four species studied. We conclude that human-induced fires following the colonization activities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have increased fire frequency and the dominance of fire-adapted species at lower elevations. At higher elevations, the low historical fire frequency has fostered the dominance of fire-sensitive species. Twentieth-century forestry practices and escaped settlement fires have generated a forest landscape dominated by younger forest habitats than in presettlement times. The expected increase of wildfire activity in North America's eastern boreal forest, in conjunction with continued forest management, could have significant consequences on the resilience of boreal forests.

Type de document:Article publié dans une revue avec comité d'évaluation
Pages:p. 437-450
Version évaluée par les pairs:Oui
Identifiant unique:10.1007/s10980-013-9974-x
Sujets:Sciences naturelles et génie > Sciences appliquées > Foresterie et sciences du bois
Département, module, service et unité de recherche:Départements et modules > Département des sciences fondamentales
Mots-clés:anthropogenic impact, disturbances legacy, fire, historical ecology, logging, settlement, vegetation pattern
Déposé le:12 mai 2022 20:20
Dernière modification:12 mai 2022 20:20
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