The Rapid Expansion of Populus tremuloides Due to Anthropogenic Disturbances in Eastern Canada
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Canadian Science Publishing
In the context of global changes, the future dynamics of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) are uncertain in the middle of its range. An increase in climate-related mortality could occur, but the modification of disturbance regimes could also favor its expansion. In this study, we document trembling aspen dynamics over 40 years at the scale of a boreal forest landscape (10 930 km²), as well as the role of disturbances in these dynamics. The results indicate that trembling aspen has experienced a substantial expansion over the last four decades (+102% occurrence), particularly between 1987 and 1997 (+70.9% occurrence). Nevertheless, these dynamics vary both spatially and temporally, with for example a phase of weak decline since 1997 (−5.9% occurrence). Anthropogenic disturbances, particularly clear-cutting, have played a major role in the expansion of trembling aspen. This expansion could influence the response of ecosystems to climate change, by modifying both fire and insect outbreak activities.
Marchais, M., D. Arseneault, and Y. Bergeron. 2022. The rapid expansion of Populus tremuloides due to anthropogenic disturbances in eastern Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 52:1-11.