Aspen Bibliography

The Rapid Expansion of Populus tremuloides Due to Anthropogenic Disturbances in Eastern Canada

Mathilde Marchais, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Dominique Arseneault, Université du Québec à Rimouski
Yves Bergeron, Université du Québec à Montréal


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.