Spatial pattern analyses of post-fire residual stands in the black spruce boreal forest of western Quebec.
Amar Madoui, Alain Leduc, Sylvie Gauthier, Yves Bergeron.
In this study, we characterised the composition and configuration of post-fire residual habitats belonging to two physiographic zones of the black spruce–moss domain in western Quebec. Thirty-three large fires (2000–52 000 ha) were selected and extracted on classified Landsat satellite imagery. The results show that a minimum of 2% and a maximum of 22% of burned areas escaped fire, with an overall average of 10.4%. The many forest patches that partially or entirely escaped fire formed residual habitats (RHs). It was found that although the area of RHs follows a linear relationship with fire size, their proportion appears relatively constant. Spatial analyses showed that the fires could be separated into two groups depending on the physiographic zones (East-Canadian Shield v. West-Clay Belt Lowlands). Fires in the west zone generate less RHs and appear to be associated with more extreme weather conditions. In most cases there was no association with water or wetlands; in some fires the presence of RHs is associated with the proximity of water bodies. The failure to find an association between RHs and wetlands suggests that this type of environment is part of the fuel. Coniferous woodland with moss appears particularly overrepresented within RHs. Our results suggest that the local and regional physiographic conditions strongly influence the creation of RHs; therefore, it is important to consider those differences when applying ecosystem-based management.