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Corpus Systématique Végétale

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Dynamics at the treeline: differential responses of Picea mariana and Larix laricina to climate change in eastern subarctic Qubec

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  • Letter
  • treeline
  • tree recruitment
  • global warming
  • Larix laricina
  • Picea mariana
  • dendrochronology
  • vertical growth
  • radial growth
  • plant population and community dynamics
Nom du fichier dans la ressource
  • Genevive Dufour-Tremblay 1
  • Esther Lvesque 2
  • Stphane Boudreau 1
  • 1) Northern Research Chair on Disturbance Ecology, Dpartement de biologie, Centre dtudes nordiques (CEN), Universit Laval, 1045 avenue de la Mdecine, Qubec, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada
  • 2) Dpartement de Chimie-Biologie, Centre dtudes nordiques (CEN), Universit du Qubec Trois-Rivires, 3351 boulevard des Forges, CP 500, Trois-Rivires, QC, G9A 5H7, Canada

Treelines are known to be temperature-sensitive ecotones, and therefore could rapidly expand their range limits in response to climate warming. Observations of lack of range expansion, however, indicate that ecological constraints partly control the treeline ecotones. The main objectives of this study were to evaluate Picea mariana and Larix laricina recruitment and growth at and above the altitudinal treeline of Kangiqsualujjuaq (Nunavik), where warmer temperatures since the 1990s have already triggered shrub expansion. We mapped, harvested, dated and measured tree individuals along two altitudinal gradients from the forested stands below the treeline to hilltops. Since the 1990s, a pulse of L.laricina seedling establishment has occurred at and above the treeline. Dendrochronological analysis revealed that L.laricina underwent a rapid vertical growth and radial growth that accelerated from the 1990s. No recruitment was observed for P.mariana in response to the regional warming, suggesting a regeneration failure of this species. Our results indicated that the L.laricina colonization below and above the treeline in recent decades in response to the regional warming should modify the landscape physiognomy of the study area in the near future.

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  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
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Environmental Research Letters

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