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Forests 2016, 7(10), 219; doi:10.3390/f7100219

Fire Regime in Marginal Jack Pine Populations at Their Southern Limit of Distribution, Riding Mountain National Park, Central Canada

1
Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research (C-FIR), University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 29E, Canada
2
Resource Management Specialist, Fire Management Officer, Parks Canada Agency, Riding Mountain National Park, Wasagaming, MB R0J 2H0, Canada
3
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, 20 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
4
Parks Canada, Natural Resource Conservation, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation Directorate, 300-300 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6B4, Canada
5
School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Yves Bergeron and Sylvie Gauthier
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 10 September 2016 / Accepted: 23 September 2016 / Published: 30 September 2016
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Abstract

In central Canada, long fire history reconstructions are rare. In a context where both anthropogenic and climate influences on fire regime have changed, Parks Canada has a mandate to maintain ecological integrity. Here we present a fire history derived from fire-scarred jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) trees growing at their southern distribution limit in Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP). In Lake Katherine Fire Management Unit (LKFMU), a subregion within the park, fire history was reconstructed from archival records, tree-ring records, and charcoal in lake sediment. From about 1450 to 1850 common era (CE) the fire return intervals varied from 37 to 125 years, according to models. During the period 1864–1930 the study area burned frequently (Weibull Mean Fire Intervals between 2.66 and 5.62 years); this period coincided with the end of First Nations occupation and the start of European settlement. Major recruitment pulses were associated with the stand-replacing 1864 and 1894 fires. This period nevertheless corresponded to a reduction in charcoal accumulation. The current fire-free period in LKFMU (1930–today) coincides with RMNP establishment, exclusion of First Nations land use and increased fire suppression. Charcoal accumulation further decreased during this period. In the absence of fire, jack pine exclusion in LKFMU is foreseeable and the use of prescribed burning is advocated to conserve this protected jack pine ecosystem, at the southern margins of its range, and in the face of potential climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: fire history; boreal mixedwood; Pinus banksiana; dendrochronology; fire scars; lake sediment charcoal; First Nations; European settlement; fire exclusion; paleoecology fire history; boreal mixedwood; Pinus banksiana; dendrochronology; fire scars; lake sediment charcoal; First Nations; European settlement; fire exclusion; paleoecology
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tardif, J.C.; Cornelsen, S.; Conciatori, F.; Hodgin, E.B.; Pellatt, M.G. Fire Regime in Marginal Jack Pine Populations at Their Southern Limit of Distribution, Riding Mountain National Park, Central Canada. Forests 2016, 7, 219.

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