Research by CEN professors Martin Simard and Patrick Lajeunesse have shed some light on a surprising driver responsible for landslides in mountainous regions of Québec. In addition to the cumulative effects of the slope, the thickness of the soil layer, and the amount of water in the ground, the intensity of spruce budworm outbreaks could explain higher risks of debris slides in these locations. A spruce budworm outbreak can kill most of the trees in a forest stand and can destroy up to 75% of the lateral roots of the surviving trees. The outbreaks can potentially destroy the entirety of the tiny root networks which are paramount in maintaining the stability of the ground. The researchers are pursuing their investigations, in collaboration with the Canadian Forest Service, to better grasp the breadth of the ecological perturbations caused by the parasite.
Article (in French) by Jean Hamann, 10th of September 2015, Le Fil (ULaval).
Publication in Ecosystems, june 2015.