Maude Durette (M.Sc. student)

Abitibi-Price Building
Room 3186
Université Laval
2405 rue de la Terrasse
Québec, Canada
G1V 0A6

Phone: (418) 456-3989

Director : Martin Simard
Co-director : Yves Bergeron

Research project
Contemporary dynamics of black spruce trembling aspen stands of the Abitibi clay belt: a dendroecological approach

Located in northwestern Quebec, Matagami’s plain region is mostly composed of black spruce (Picea mariana) and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) stands and is part of the feathermoss bioclimatic region. Fire is the major natural disturbance in this region, creating either successional or cyclical forest dynamics. Successional forest dynamics are characterized by a replacement of pioneer tree species established after fire by late successional tree species. For example, a stand that would regenerate in trembling aspen after fire would eventually be replaced by a black-spruce dominated stand. On the other hand, cyclical forest dynamics correspond to a stable forest composition despite natural disturbances. For example, a black spruce stand would regenerate as a black spruce stand after a fire, and would keep the same composition with time since fire. It is not clear which factors (reproduction modes of species, basal area of each stand type before fire, species tolerance to shade, soil type, etc.) have an impact on forest dynamics. Moreover, the lack of a fire map (stand initiation dates) in the study area makes it even more difficult to understand the dynamics and variability of black spruce and trembling aspen stands.

The general objective of this project is to improve knowledge of natural dynamics of black spruce and trembling aspen stands in the Matagami region (ecological region 6a2). First, I will describe the natural variability of forest composition on mesic and subhydric clay deposits using field work and forest inventory data set, given by the Ministry of natural resources of Québec. Second, I aim to understand natural dynamic stand by analyzing charcoal located between the mineral and organic soil horizons and by using dendrochronology to reconstruct the development of eighteen stands of different composition (black spruce, trembling aspen and mixed stands). This study will increase our understanding of forest dynamics of black spruce trembling aspen stands at a contemporary scale time.