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Research article Factors responsible for the co-occurrence of forested and unforested rock

Summary: Research article
Factors responsible for the co-occurrence of forested and unforested rock
outcrops in the boreal forest
Hugo Asselin*, Annie Belleau and Yves Bergeron
NSERC/UQAT/UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Universite´ du Que´bec en Abitibi-
Te´miscamingue, 445, boulevard de l'Universite´, Rouyn-Noranda (Que´bec), Canada, J9X 5E4; *Author for
correspondence (e-mail: hugo.asselin@uqat.ca)
Received 1 March 2005; accepted in revised form 27 July 2005
Key words: Alternative stable states, Boreal forest, Diverging types, Fire, Primary succession, Secondary
Rock outcrops in the boreal forest of Que´ bec can show either of two different states: a forested state with
>25% tree cover, and an unforested state (<25% tree cover). We tested three different hypotheses that
might explain the co-occurrence of forested and unforested rock outcrops: (1) differences in bedrock
geology, with unforested outcrops associated to bedrock types inimical to tree growth; (2) unforested
outcrops as recently disturbed sites undergoing secondary succession towards a forested state; (3) unfor-
ested outcrops as an alternative stable state to forested outcrops, induced by post-fire regeneration failure.
Digitized forest inventory maps were used along with bedrock geology maps and time-since-fire maps to
compare forested and unforested outcrops for bedrock geology type and date of the last fire. Field surveys
were conducted on 28 outcrops (14 forested, 14 unforested) to gather information regarding tree species


Source: Asselin, Hugo - Chaire de recherche du Canada en foresterie autochtone, Département des sciences du développement humain et social, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology