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

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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Submitted on : Saturday, August 28, 2021 - 9:08:34 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 1:36:11 PM
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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, Springer Verlag, 2020, 23 (5), pp.1075-1092. ⟨10.1007/s10021-019-00455-w⟩. ⟨hal-02971119⟩



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