Sandy P. Harrison, Roberto Villegas-Diaz, Esmeralda Cruz-Silva, Daniel Gallagher, David Kesner, Paul Lincoln, Yicheng Shen, Luke Sweeney, Daniele Colombaroli, Adam Ali, Chéïma Barhoumi , Yves Bergeron, Tatiana Blyakharchuk, Přemysl Bobek, R.H.W. Bradshaw, Jennifer L. Clear, Sambor Czerwiński, Anne-Laure Daniau, John Dodson, Kevin J. Edwards, M.E. Edwards, A. Feurdean, D. Foster, K. Gajewski, M. Gałka, Michelle Garneau, T. Giesecke, G. Gil Romera, Martin-Philippe Girardin, D. Hoefer, K. Huang, J. Inoue, E. Jamrichová, N. Jasiunas, W. Jiang, G. Jiménez-Moreno, M. Karpińska-Kołaczek, P. Kołaczek, N. Kuosmanen, Mariusz Lamentowicz, Martin Lavoie, F. Li, J. Li, O. Lisitsyna, J.A. López-Sáez, R. Luelmo-Lautenschlaeger, Gabriel Magnan, E.K. Magyari, A. Maksims, K. Marcisz, E. Marinova, J. Marlon, S. Mensing, J. Miroslaw-Grabowska, W. Oswald, S. Pérez-Dı́az, R. Pérez-Obiol, S. Piilo, A. Poska, X. Qin, Cécile Remy, Pierre J.H. Richard, S. Salonen, N. Sasaki, H. Schneider, W. Shotyk, M. Stancikaite, D. Šteinberga, N. Stivrins, H. Takahara, Z. Tan, L. Trasune, C.E. Umbanhowar, M. Väliranta, J. Vassiljev, X. Xiao, Q. Xu, X. Xu, E. Zawisza, Y. Zhao, Z. Zhou, Jordan Paillard. The Reading Palaeofire Database: an expanded global resource to document changes in fire regimes from sedimentary charcoal records. 2022. Earth Syst. Sci. Data 14:1109-1124
DOI : 10.5194/essd-14-1109-2022
Sedimentary charcoal records are widely used to reconstruct regional changes in fire regimes through time in the geological past. Existing global compilations are not geographically comprehensive and do not provide consistent metadata for all sites. Furthermore, the age models provided for these records are not harmonised and many are based on older calibrations of the radiocarbon ages. These issues limit the use of existing compilations for research into past fire regimes. Here, we present an expanded database of charcoal records, accompanied by new age models based on recalibration of radiocarbon ages using IntCal20 and Bayesian age-modelling software. We document the structure and contents of the database, the construction of the age models, and the quality control measures applied. We also record the expansion of geographical coverage relative to previous charcoal compilations and the expansion of metadata that can be used to inform analyses. This first version of the Reading Palaeofire Database contains 1676 records (entities) from 1480 sites worldwide. The database (RPDv1b – Harrison et al., 2021) is available at https://doi.org/10.17864/1947.000345.
Gabriel Magnan, Eloïse LeStum-Boivin, Pierre Grondin, Maxime Asselin, Michelle Garneau, Yves Bergeron, Martin Lavoie. Comprendre l'évolution des tourbières de la pessière à mousses de l'Ouest. 2020. Avis de recherche forestière no 150.
Les tourbières abondent dans le sous-domaine bioclimatique de la pessière à mousses de l’Ouest et certaines d’entre elles sont recouvertes de forêts productives justifiant une récolte de matière ligneuse. Les études paléoécologiques révèlent que l’évolution millénaire de cet écosystème est issue d’interactions complexes entre les feux, la topographie et le climat. Dans le contexte des changements climatiques, il est probable que les tourbières s’assècheront et seront colonisées davantage par les conifères. Elles pourraient donc devenir plus vulnérables aux feux, et ainsi transformer ces grands réservoirs de carbone en une importante source de gaz à effet de serre. Ces nouvelles connaissances permettront d’améliorer les pratiques sylvicoles, notamment en considérant la fonction de séquestration de carbone dans ces milieux.
Gabriel Magnan, Eloïse LeStum-Boivin, Michelle Garneau, Yves Bergeron, Pierre Grondin. Long-Term Carbon Sequestration
in Boreal Forested Peatlands
in Eastern Canada 2020. Ecosystems
DOI : 10.1007/s10021-020-00483-x
Forested peatlands are widespread in the boreal landscape, but their role as carbon (C) pools remains poorly documented. In this study, we investigated the long-term C sequestration function of boreal forested bogs in relation to fires in eastern Canada. Results show that the forested peatlands comprise substantial peat C mass reaching values similar to open peatlands. At the six studied peatland sites, the amount of C stored in peat (62–172 kg C m?2) exceeds substantially the aboveground tree biomass C (1.5–5.3 kg C m?2). The C locked up in live conifers on the peatlands corresponds only to a small fraction of the C stored in peat (1–6%). In comparison, the shallow organic layer (??30 cm) in the adjacent paludifying stands store 10.8 kg C m?2 on average, which is about twice as much C as the live conifers. Long-term apparent C accumulation rates are relatively low in the studied forested bogs (mean: 15.9 g C m?2 y?1), suggesting that these ecosystems have lower C sequestration potential than non-forested bogs over millennia. The charcoal data suggest that past local fires reduced C sequestration rates, but these peatlands burn much less frequently than upland forests and are thus more efficient long-term C stores. This study highlights the importance of boreal forested peatlands as C reservoirs and helps understanding how fires, logging and climate change can affect their C sequestration function. These findings have important implications for ecosystem management that aims at maximizing C sequestration at the landscape level to mitigate climate change.
Eloïse LeStum-Boivin, Gabriel Magnan, Michelle Garneau, Yves Bergeron, Nicole J. Fenton, Pierre Grondin. Spatiotemporal evolution of paludification associated with autogenic
and allogenic factors in the black spruce–moss boreal forest of
Québec, Canada. 2019. Quaternary Research 91(2):650-664
DOI : 10.1017/qua.2018.101
Paludification is the most common process of peatland formation in boreal regions. In this study, we investigated the autogenic (e.g., topography) and allogenic (fire and climate) factors triggering paludification in different geomorphological contexts (glaciolacustrine silty-clayey and fluvioglacial deposits) within the Québec black spruce (Picea mariana)–moss boreal forest. Paleoecological analyses were conducted along three toposequences varying from a forest on mineral soil to forested and semi-open peatlands. Plant macrofossil and charcoal analyses were performed on basal peat sections (?50 cm) and thick forest humus (<40 cm) to reconstruct local vegetation dynamics and fire history involved in the paludification process. Results show that primary paludification started in small topographic depressions after land emergence ca. 8000 cal yr BP within rich fens. Lateral peatland expansion and secondary paludification into adjacent forests occurred between ca. 5100 and 2300 cal yr BP and resulted from low-severity fires during a climatic deterioration. Fires that reduced or eliminated entirely the organic layer promoted the establishment of Sphagnum in microdepressions. Paludification resulted in the decline of some coniferous species such as Abies balsamea and Pinus banksiana. The paleoecological approach along toposequences allowed us to understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of paludification and its impacts on the vegetation dynamics over the Holocene.
Claudie Giguère-Croteau, Étienne Boucher, Yves Bergeron, Lucas R.C. Silva, Jean-François Hélie, Michelle Garneau, Martin-Philippe Girardin, Igor Drobyshev. North America’s oldest boreal trees are more efficient water users due to increased [CO2], but do not grow faster. 2019. PNAS 116(7):2749-2754
DOI : 10.1073/pnas.1816686116
Due to anthropogenic emissions and changes in land use, trees are now exposed to atmospheric levels of [CO2] that are unprecedented for 650,000 y [Lüthi et al. (2008) Nature 453:379–382] (thousands of tree generations). Trees are expected to acclimate by modulating leaf–gas exchanges and alter water use efficiency which may result in forest productivity changes. Here, we present evidence of one of the strongest, nonlinear, and unequivocal postindustrial increases in intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE) ever documented (+59%). A dual-isotope tree-ring analysis (?13C and ?18O) covering 715 y of growth of North America’s oldest boreal trees (Thuja occidentalis L.) revealed an unprecedented increase in iWUE that was directly linked to elevated assimilation rates of CO2 (A). However, limited nutrient availability, changes in carbon allocation strategies, and changes in stomatal density may have offset stem growth benefits awarded by the increased iWUE. Our results demonstrate that even in scenarios where a positive CO2 fertilization effect is observed, other mechanisms may prevent trees from assimilating and storing supplementary anthropogenic emissions as above-ground biomass. In such cases, the sink capacity of forests in response to changing atmospheric conditions might be overestimated.
Gabriel Magnan, Eloïse LeStum-Boivin, Yves Bergeron, Michelle Garneau, Pierre Grondin, Nicole J. Fenton. Holocene vegetation dynamics and hydrological variability in forested peatlands of the Clay Belt, eastern Canada, reconstructed using a palaeoecological approach. 2018. Boreas
DOI : 10.1111/bor.12345
Forested peatlands are widespread in boreal regions of Canada, and these ecosystems, which are major terrestrial carbon sinks, are undergoing significant transformations linked to climate change, fires and human activities. This study targets millennial?scale vegetation dynamics and related hydrological variability in forested peatlands of the Clay Belt south of James Bay, eastern Canada, using palaeoecological data. Changes in peatland vegetation communities were reconstructed using plant macrofossil analyses, and variations in water?table depths were inferred using testate amoeba analyses. High?resolution analyses of macroscopic charcoal >0.5 mm were used to reconstruct local fire history. Our data showed two successional pathways towards the development of present?day forested peatlands influenced by autogenic processes such as vertical peat growth and related drying, and allogenic factors such as the occurrence of local fires. The oldest documented peatland initiated in a wet rich fen around 8000 cal. a BP shortly after land emergence and transformed into a drier forested bog rapidly after peat inception that persisted over millennia. In the second site, peat started to accumulate from ~5200 cal. a BP over a mesic coniferous forest that shifted into a wet forested peatland following a fire that partially consumed the organic layer ~4600 cal. a BP. The charcoal records show that fires rarely occurred in these peatlands, but they have favoured the process of forest paludification and influenced successional trajectories over millennia. The macrofossil data suggest that Picea mariana (black spruce) persisted on the peatlands throughout their development, although there were periods of more open canopy due to local fires in some cases. This study brings new understanding on the natural variability of boreal forested peatlands which may help predict their response to future changes in climate, fire regimes and anthropogenic disturbances.
Michelle Garneau, Yves Bergeron, Simon Van bellen, Adam Ali. Did fires drive Holocene carbon sequestration in boreal ombrotrophic peatlands of eastern Canada? 2012. Quaternary Research 78(1):50-59
DOI : 10.1016/j.yqres.2012.03.009
Jessica L. Banville, Yves Bergeron, Michelle Garneau, David Paré. Soil Carbon Stocks and Soil Carbon Quality in the Upland Portion of a Boreal Landscape, James Bay, Quebec. 2011. Ecosystems 14(4):533-546
DOI : 10.1007/s10021-011-9429-7
As part of a multidisciplinary project on carbon (C) dynamics of the ecosystems characterizing the Eastmain Region Watershed (James Bay, Quebec), the objective of this study is to compare the soil C stocks and soil organic matter quality among the main upland vegetation types in a boreal region subjected to a high fire frequency. On average, the organic layer contained twice the amount of C than the mineral soil. Closed canopy vegetation types had greater C stocks both in the mineral and in the organic layers than the other more open canopy vegetation types. Landscape features such as drainage and surficial deposit could not discriminate between vegetation types although closed vegetation types were on average found on wetter site conditions. Average soil C contents varied more than 2-fold across vegetation types. On the opposite, except for the organic layer C:N ratio, which was smaller in closed vegetation types, other measured soil organic matter properties (namely specific rate of evolved C after a long-term incubation, hydrolysis acid-resistant C as well as the rate of changes in soil heterotrophic respiration with increasing temperature (Q10)) remained within a narrow range between vegetation types. Therefore, total soil C stocks were a major determinant of both labile C and estimated summer soil heterotrophic respiration rate. The homogeneity of soil organic matter quality across the vegetation types could be attributable to the positive relationship between soil C storage and soil C fluxes observed in this landscape experiencing a high fire frequency. The low variability in soil C quality could help simplify the modelling of soil C fluxes in this environment.
Simon Van bellen, Pierre-Luc Dallaire, Yves Bergeron, Michelle Garneau. Quantifying spatial and temporal Holocene carbon
accumulation in ombrotrophic peatlands
of the Eastmain region, Quebec, Canada. 2011. Global Biogeochem. Cycles 25 GB2016
DOI : 10.1029/2010GB003877
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Simon Van bellen, Michelle Garneau, Yves Bergeron. Impact of climate change on forest fire severity and consequences for carbon stocks in boreal forest stands of Quebec, Canada: a synthesis. 2010. Fire Ecology 6(3):
DOI : 10.4996/fireecology.0603016
The global boreal forests comprise large stocks of organic carbon that vary with climate and fire regimes. Global warming is likely to influence several aspects of fire and cause shifts in carbon sequestration patterns. Fire severity or forest floor depth of burn is one important aspect that influences both carbon emission during combustion as well as postfire ecosystem regeneration. Numerous publications on projections of future area burned exist, whereas scenarios on twenty-first century fire severity are more scarce, and the stand-typical response to severe fire weather is rarely taken into account. This paper aims to synthesize knowledge on boreal forest carbon stocks in relation to changes in fire severity for Quebec, Canada. Besides warming, this region may be subjected to an important increase in future precipitation. Future fire severity and area burned may well increase as fire weather will be drier, especially near the end of the twenty-first century. Moreover, the fire season peak may shift towards the late summer. Intense burning will favour tree cover development while the forest floor carbon stock may become less important. As a result, total Quebec boreal carbon sequestration may diminish. The development of dynamic vegetation models may improve scenarios on twenty-first century changes in carbon sequestration driven by climate change and fire severity and frequency effects.