The effects of fire and salvage logging on early post-fire succession in mixedwood boreal forest communities of Saskatchewan
Guedo, Dustin C
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This study compared the effects of fire severity and salvage logging on early successional vegetation in the mixedwood boreal forest upland of Saskatchewan. The effects of salvage logging on post-fire forest stands are poorly understood. Few studies have investigated the short-term effects of salvage logging on the regeneration of boreal plant species or the long-term impact on overall forest composition and diversity. This study examines salvage logged and wildfire leave stands across three burn severity classes (no burn, low/moderate burn, and high burn) over two time periods (1 year post-fire and 10 years post-fire). The results indicate that salvage logging has a significant impact on the early regeneration of burned mixedwood boreal plant communities with the effect still evident in forest stands ten years post-fire. Salvage logging has long-lasting residual effects on boreal forest plant community development. Salvage logging one year post-fire reduced the number, diversity, and abundance of species within each of the burn severities, creating a less abundant and simplified plant community. It was also shown that salvage logging one year post-fire tended to create more homogenous plant communities similar to those communities typical of areas of moderate burn severity, constraining the effects of burn severity and decreasing the range of the vegetation communities. These findings are less pronounced, but still evident, within salvage logged stands ten years post-fire as three regrowth cover types have developed, characterised by no disturbance, moderate disturbance either by fire or salvage logging, and severe disturbance. The convergence of plant community characteristics between burn severity classes across logging treatments suggests that the effects of salvage logging do not have long lasting effects within areas of high burn severity.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorArchibold, O. W. (Bill)
CommitteeWright, Robert A.; de Boer, Dirk H.