Does the post-fire organic layer compress beneath the snowpack?
Tadeusz Bartek Splawinski, David F. Greene, Sylvie Gauthier, Yves Bergeron.
It is well known that post-fire duff layers that are thin or of lower porosity greatly enhance juvenile survivorship of sexually recruiting boreal plant species. Nonetheless, there has been no study on duff compaction by snow following charring. We examined post-fire duff depth for the first 3 years (two winters) after a 2006 wildfire in the boreal forest of north-western Quebec. We found that (1) significant compression was common, with (2) a positive relationship between the initial thickness of the burned organic layer depth and the subsequent amount of compression. The proportional compression rate was, however, roughly constant: ˇ14% after 2 years regardless of initial post-fire duff depth. We conclude that this amount of compression is too little to significantly impact post-fire seedling recruitment.