Incorporating Insect and Wind Disturbances in a Natural Disturbance-Based Management Framework for the Boreal Forest.
Louis De Grandpré, Kaysandra Waldron, Mathieu Bouchard, Sylvie Gauthier, Marilou Beaudet, Jean-Claude Ruel, Christian Hébert, Daniel Kneeshaw.
Natural disturbances are fundamental to forest ecosystem dynamics and have been used for two decades to improve forest management, notably in the boreal forest. Initially based on fire regimes, there is now a need to extend the concept to include other types of disturbances as they can greatly contribute to forest dynamics in some regions of the boreal zone. Here we review the main descriptors—that is, the severity, specificity, spatial and temporal descriptors and legacies, of windthrow and spruce bud worm outbreak disturbance regimes in boreal forests—in order to facilitate incorporating them into a natural disturbance-based forest management framework. We also describe the biological legacies that are generated by these disturbances. Temporal and spatial descriptors characterising both disturbance types are generally variable in time and space. This makes them difficult to reproduce in an ecosystem management framework. However, severity and specificity descriptors may provide a template upon which policies for maintaining post harvesting and salvage logging biological legacies can be based. In a context in which management mainly targets mature and old-growth stages, integrating insect and wind disturbances in a management framework is an important goal, as these disturbances contribute to creating heterogeneity in mature and old-growth forest characteristics.