All fired up: A long-term fire history of the coastal boreal forest of Newfoundland, Canada

Walker, Leah C. (2021) All fired up: A long-term fire history of the coastal boreal forest of Newfoundland, Canada. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Little is known about the long-term fire history of coastal boreal forests in Atlantic Canada, particularly of Newfoundland. Establishing historical fire regimes is essential to wildfire management and projecting future wildfire activity. We radiocarbon-dated and botanically identified soil charcoal to resolve the long-term fire history of Terra Nova National Park (TNNP) in eastern Newfoundland. Typically, dendrochronology or lake sediment cores are used to reconstruct fire histories; yet, a soil charcoal approach produces a longer time-scale than dendrochronology and a finer spatial resolution than lacustrine sediment understanding of past fire events. Charcoal ages ranged from 7528 to 64 cal. years BP. The 150 year fire return interval for the park was consistent with other eastern boreal forest stands. We found charcoal of spruce, balsam fir, pine, birch, and maple. The proportion of black spruce increased in the Central Newfoundland Forest, while the proportion of balsam fir increased in the North Shore Forest from the past to present-day. Our results directly inform the wildfire management plan in TNNP to enhance black spruce regeneration, improve overall forest health, and decrease fire risk.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15021
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: fire history, Holocene, boreal forest, ecoregion, soil charcoal, paleoecology, radiocarbon dating, black spruce, balsam fir, Newfoundland
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: May 2021
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Forest fires--Newfoundland and Labrador--Terra Nova National Park--History; Taigas--Newfoundland and Labrador--Terra Nova National Park; Soil chemistry--Newfoundland and Labrador--Terra Nova National Park; Newfoundland and Labrador--Historical geography--Methodology.

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