Silva Fennica (Jan 2018)

The colonization of young fire initiated stands by the crustose lichen Trapeliopsis granulosa and its potential effect on conifer establishment and stand succession

  • Tadeusz Splawinski,
  • Sylvie Gauthier,
  • Nicole Fenton,
  • Daniel Houle,
  • Yves Bergeron

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 52, no. 1


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The resilience of closed-crown coniferous stands within the boreal forest of North America is highly dependent on successful re-establishment of tree species following fire. A shift from closed-crown forest to open lichen woodland is possible following poor natural regeneration during the initial establishment phase, followed by the development of extensive lichen cover, which may hinder ongoing recruitment. We examined the development of the crustose lichen (Hoffm.) 18 to 21 years following fire within six sites in the boreal forest of northwestern Quebec, and explored its potential to affect ongoing recruitment during early successional stages of stand development. Germination and survivorship trials were conducted within the laboratory to determine the establishment rate of Lamb. (jack pine) on , mineral soil, and burnt duff under two separate watering frequencies (observed and drought). Survival and establishment rates of jack pine were highest on burnt duff, and poor on both and mineral soil. Under the drought treatment, no seedlings survived on any substrates. In the field, cover had a positive relationship with mineral soil cover, and negative relationships with duff cover, ericaceous shrub cover, organic layer depth, other lichen cover, and moss cover. No discernable relationship was found between and tree density, rock cover, dead wood cover or other moss cover. The development of extensive cover in fire-initiated stands can impede ongoing recruitment of conifer species due to its poor seedbed quality, thereby maintaining open forests.Trapeliopsis granulosaPinus banksianaT. granulosaT. granulosaT. granulosaSphagnumT. granulosaT. granulosa