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Forecasting the development of boreal paludified forests in response to climate change: a case study using Ontario ecosite classification

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Lafleur, B. et Fenton, N. J. et Bergeron, Y. (2015). Forecasting the development of boreal paludified forests in response to climate change: a case study using Ontario ecosite classification. Forest Ecosystems , 2 (1). doi:10.1186/s40663-015-0027-6 Repéré dans Depositum à https://depositum.uqat.ca/id/eprint/932

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Résumé

Background: Successional paludification, a dynamic process that leads to the formation of peatlands, is influenced by climatic factors and site features such as surficial deposits and soil texture. In boreal regions, projected climate change and corresponding modifications in natural fire regimes are expected to influence the paludification process and forest development. The objective of this study was to forecast the development of boreal paludified forests in northeastern North America in relation to climate change and modifications in the natural fire regime for the period 2011–2100.

Methods: A paludification index was built using static (e.g. surficial deposits and soil texture) and dynamic (e.g. moisture regime and soil organic layer thickness) stand scale factors available from forest maps. The index considered the effects of three temperature increase scenarios (i.e. +1°C, +3°C and +6°C) and progressively decreasing fire cycle (from 300 years for 2011–2041, to 200 years for 2071–2100) on peat accumulation rate and soil organic layer (SOL) thickness at the stand level, and paludification at the landscape level.

Results: Our index show that in the context where in the absence of fire the landscape continues to paludify, the negative effect of climate change on peat accumulation resulted in little modification to SOL thickness at the stand level, and no change in the paludification level of the study area between 2011 and 2100. However, including decreasing fire cycle to the index resulted in declines in paludified area. Overall, the index predicts a slight to moderate decrease in the area covered by paludified forests in 2100, with slower rates of paludification.

Conclusions: Slower paludification rates imply greater forest productivity and a greater potential for forest harvest, but also a gradual loss of open paludified stands, which could impact the carbon balance in paludified landscapes. Nonetheless, as the thick Sphagnum layer typical of paludified forests may protect soil organic layer from drought and deep burns, a significant proportion of the territory has high potential to remain a carbon sink.

Type de document: Article
Informations complémentaires: Licence d'utilisation : CC-BY 4.0
Mots-clés libres: Boreal forest; Canada; Carbon sequestration; Paludification; Peat forests; Forest harvest
Divisions: Forêts
Date de dépôt: 19 mars 2020 13:10
Dernière modification: 26 mars 2020 14:51
URI: https://depositum.uqat.ca/id/eprint/932

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