Identifying Conifer Tree vs. Deciduous Shrub and Tree Regeneration Trajectories in a Space-for-Time Boreal Peatland Fire Chronosequence Using Multispectral Lidar
Author ORCID Identifier
Humaira Enayetullah https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9296-7977
Laura Chasmer https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8062-1530
Christopher Hopkinson https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3998-4778
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Wildland fires and anthropogenic disturbances can cause changes in vegetation species composition and structure in boreal peatlands. These could potentially alter regeneration trajectories following severe fire or through cumulative impacts of climate-mediated drying, fire, and/or anthropogenic disturbance. We used lidar-derived point cloud metrics, and site-specific locational attributes to assess trajectories of post-disturbance vegetation regeneration in boreal peatlands south of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada using a space-for-time-chronosequence. The objectives were to (a) develop methods to identify conifer trees vs. deciduous shrubs and trees using multi-spectral lidar data, (b) quantify the proportional coverage of shrubs and trees to determine environmental conditions driving shrub regeneration, and (c) determine the spatial variations in shrub and tree heights as an indicator of cumulative growth since the fire. The results show that the use of lidar-derived structural metrics predicted areas of deciduous shrub establishment (92% accuracy) and classification of deciduous and conifer trees (71% accuracy). Burned bogs and fens were more prone to shrub regeneration up to and including 38 years after the fire. The transition from deciduous to conifer trees occurred approximately 30 years post-fire. These results improve the understanding of environmental conditions that are sensitive to disturbance and impacts of disturbance on northern peatlands within a changing climate.
Enayetullah, H., L. Chasmer, C. Hopkinson, D. Thompson, and D. Cobbaert. 2022. Identifying Conifer Tree vs. Deciduous Shrub and Tree Regeneration Trajectories in a Space-forTime Boreal Peatland Fire Chronosequence Using Multispectral Lidar. Atmosphere 13:112.
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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/). Originally published in Atmosphere.