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Conifer Recruitment in Trembling Aspen (Populus Tremuloides Michx.) Stands along an East-West Gradient in the Boreal Mixedwoods of Canada

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Centre d'Étude de la Forêt, Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, CP. 8888, succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada
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NSERC/UQAT/UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boul. de l'Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2014, 5(11), 2905-2928; https://doi.org/10.3390/f5112905
Received: 7 August 2014 / Revised: 29 October 2014 / Accepted: 3 November 2014 / Published: 24 November 2014
Ongoing climate change is likely to result in shifts in successional dynamics in boreal mixedwood stands. Using data from provincial forest inventory databases, we examined the occurrence and abundance of the regeneration of various coniferous species (white spruce, black spruce and balsam fir) along an east-west Canadian gradient in aspen-dominated stands. The interpretation of the results was based on environmental conditions, including climate, natural fire regime and human impacts. We found that conifer regeneration was present in aspen stands along the entire gradient, despite differences in climatic conditions and fire regimes between the west (warmer and drier, with large recurrent fires) and east (more humid with relatively long fire cycles). However, abundance and distribution varied from one conifer species to the next. The abundance of white spruce decreased towards the eastern end of the longitudinal gradient, while balsam fir and black spruce abundance decreased towards the west. Although abundance decreased, balsam fir and black spruce regeneration was still present in western Canada. This study shows that it is difficult to interpret the effects of climate change on conifer recruitment without accounting for the superimposed effects of human activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: trembling aspen; boreal mixedwood; coniferous regeneration; abundance; occurrence trembling aspen; boreal mixedwood; coniferous regeneration; abundance; occurrence
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Nlungu-Kweta, P.; Leduc, A.; Bergeron, Y. Conifer Recruitment in Trembling Aspen (Populus Tremuloides Michx.) Stands along an East-West Gradient in the Boreal Mixedwoods of Canada. Forests 2014, 5, 2905-2928.

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