Balsam fir mortality following the last spruce budworm outbreak in northwestern Quebec.
Yves Bergeron, Hubert Morin, Alain Leduc, Claude Joyal.
Balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) mortality caused by the last spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana (Clem.)) outbreak (1970-1987) was studied in 624 sites belonging to a complex natural forest mosaic originating from different fires in northwestern Quebec. Multiple regression analyses were used to assess the respective effects of stand structure, species composition, site characteristics, and the forest composition surrounding the stand on observed stand mortality. Mortality was observed to increase in relation to diameter of the trees, basal area of balsam fir, and the number of stands dominated by conifers in the forest mosaic. All of these factors showed significant independent effects, but 60% of the variance remained unexplained. Site characteristics, however, did not show a significant relationship to stand mortality. The results suggest that forest composition at both the stand and the forest mosaic levels may be responsible for differing degrees of defoliation that result in differences in stand mortality. Forest management strategies that favor the presence of mixed compositions both at the stand level and at the mosaic level may contribute to decreased stand vulnerability. ©1995 NRC Canada