International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The effects of surficial deposit–drainage combinations on spatial variations of fire cycles in the boreal forest of eastern Canada

Nicolas Mansuy A E , Sylvie Gauthier B , André Robitaille C and Yves Bergeron D

A Centre for Forest Research, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, QC, H3C 3P8, Canada.

B Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry Centre, 1055 du PEPS, PO Box 10380, Stn Sainte-Foy, Québec, QC, G1V 4C7, Canada.

C Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec, Direction des inventaires forestiers, 880 chemin Sainte-Foy, 5e étage, Québec, QC, G1S 4X4, Canada.

D Chaire industrielle en aménagement forestier durable (NSERC-UQAT-UQAM), Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boulevard de l’Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, J9X 5E4, Canada.

E Corresponding author. Email: nicolas.mansuy@rncan-nrcan.gc.ca

International Journal of Wildland Fire 19(8) 1083-1098 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF09144
Submitted: 19 December 2009  Accepted: 4 August 2010   Published: 10 December 2010

Abstract

Spatial variations in the fire cycle of a large territory (190 000 km2) located in the boreal forest of eastern Canada were assessed using random sampling points. Our main objective was to determine if regions characterised by a large proportion of dry surficial deposit–drainage (SDD) burn more frequently than regions with a smaller proportion. Through a regionalisation of the landscape units, we analysed the effects of SDD on spatial variations of the fire cycle. A discriminant analysis involving the SDD and other physical variables (precipitation, temperature, aridity index, water bodies, elevation and slope) made it possible to identify a combination of variables characterising each region. A considerable variation in fire cycle was observed among the different SDD types (from 144 to 425 years) and between regions (from 90 to 715 years). Through the discriminant analysis, this study suggests that a combination of possible climatic top-down (precipitation R2 = 0.727, aridity index R2 = 0.663 and temperature R2 = 0.574) and bottom-up factors (xeric undifferentiated till R2 = 0.819 and humid undifferentiated till R2 = 0.691) could explain this variation at the regional scale. Implications of those results for forest protection against fire and regional development are briefly discussed.

Additional keywords: climate, discriminant analyses, disturbance regime, drying potential, random sampling, regional scale, regionalisation, top-down and bottom-up factors.


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