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Journal Articles Ecosystems Year : 2020

Long-Term Steady-State Dry Boreal Forest in the Face of Disturbance

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Abstract

We used bioproxies from paleosoils buried within two aeolian dunes to test hypotheses concerning the origin of dry sandy boreal forests in Canada. These forests are dominated today by Pinus bank- siana Lamb. One hypothesis is that too frequent Holocene stand-replacing fires would have trans- formed the original vegetation through extirpation of susceptible species to fire in water stress habitat. Alternatively, the ecosystem would have not changed since the dunes stabilized enough to sup- port forest establishment. The vegetation compo- sition and richness were determined by identification of charcoal and macroremains and radiocarbon dating for the chronology. Both sites revealed a similar history covering 6400 years. Half of the charcoal layers were less than 2500 years old in both sites, indicating that they had been sub- jected to the same fire history. Data indicated a stable plant composition and richness, although the percentage of Pinus decreased slightly over 4000 years (decreasing rate 1% per century). The fungus Cenococcum geophilum was consistently pre- sent, with a stochastic abundance. The vegetation grew under natural fire conditions and soil dryness since 6000 years. The ecosystem was probably not stressed by late-Holocene fires or climate changes, as the multi-millennial steady state reveals a resis- tant and resilient ecosystem.
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Dates and versions

hal-02971119 , version 1 (28-08-2021)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Christopher Carcaillet, Mireille Desponts, Vincent Robin, Yves Bergeron. Long-Term Steady-State Dry Boreal Forest in the Face of Disturbance. Ecosystems, 2020, 23 (5), pp.1075-1092. ⟨10.1007/s10021-019-00455-w⟩. ⟨hal-02971119⟩
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