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Stand Age Influence on Potential Wildfire Ignition and Spread in the Boreal Forest of Northeastern Canada.

Erni, Sandy; Arseneault, Dominique; Parisien, Marc-André (2018). Stand Age Influence on Potential Wildfire Ignition and Spread in the Boreal Forest of Northeastern Canada. Ecosystems , vol. 21 , nº 7. p. 1471-1486. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-018-0235-3.

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Résumé

Although it has long been assumed that wildfire occurrence is independent of stand age in the North American boreal forest, recent studies indicate that young forests may influence burn rates by limiting the ignition and spread of fires for several years. Wildfires not only structure the stand-age mosaic of boreal landscapes, but also alter the likelihood and behavior of subsequent fires. Using a fire simulation model, we evaluated the effect of stand age on the magnitude and spatial patterns of burn probability (BP) in the boreal forest of northeastern Canada. Specifically, we assessed the stand age effect on the two processes driving fire likelihood, ignition and spread, by simulating tens of thousands of fires under three fire regime scenarios that vary in terms of mean fire size and number of burned patches. Assuming minimal resistance to fire ignition and spread, where only the youngest stands (≤ 10 years) are resistant to burning, mean BP is reduced by 10%; in contrast, assuming maximum resistance, where stands up to 90 years old impede wildfires, mean BP can be reduced up to 85%. Although the resistance to ignition on BP is almost identical in magnitude to that of spread, it yields substantially different spatial arrangements of BP. Furthermore, stand age resistance reduces subsequent fire activity not only within but also outside the perimeter of burned patches through a shadow effect. Our results help to untangle the role of factors contributing to stand age resistance on wildfires and offer new insights for improving the spatial mapping of fire likelihood.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: wildfires; burn probability; stand age dependence; landscape patterns; boreal forest; fire likelihood
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 18 oct. 2018 19:05
Dernière modification: 12 déc. 2018 16:08
URI: http://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/6910

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