Natural fire regime: a guide for sustainable management of the Canadian boreal forest
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Yves Bergeron; Alain Leduc; Brian D. Harvey; Sylvie Gauthier
Publication Year: 2002

Cataloging Information

  • Abies balsamea
  • age classes
  • Betula papyrifera
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • clearcutting
  • coniferous forests
  • conservation
  • crown fires
  • distribution
  • disturbance
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire frequency
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire size
  • fire suppression
  • forest management
  • fuel types
  • hardwood forests
  • lightning caused fires
  • logging
  • mortality
  • mosaic
  • old growth forests
  • Picea glauca
  • Picea mariana
  • pine forests
  • Pinus strobus
  • Populus tremuloides
  • post fire recovery
  • Quebec
  • regeneration
  • salvage
  • species diversity (plants)
  • stand characteristics
  • statistical analysis
  • surface fires
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 8, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 39644
Tall Timbers Record Number: 14341
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The combination of certain features of fire disturbance, notably fire frequency, size and severity, may be used to characterize the disturbance regime in any region of the boreal forest. As some consequences of fire resemble the effects of industrial forest harvesting, conventional forest management is often considered as a disturbance that has effects similar to those of natural disturbances. Although the analogy between forest management and fire disturbance in boreal ecosystems has some merit, it is important to recognise that it also has its limitations. Short fire cycles generally described for boreal ecosystems do not appear to be universal; rather, important spatial and temporal variations have been observed in Canada. These variations in the fire cycle have an important influence on forest composition and Structure at the landscape and regional levels. Size and severity of fires also show a large range of variability. In regions where the natural matrix of the boreal forest remains relatively intact, maintenance of this natural variability should be targeted by forest managers concerned with biodiversity conservation. Current forest management tends to reduce this variability: for example, fully regulated, even-aged management will tend to truncate the natural forest age distribution and eliminate over-mature and old-growth forests from the landscape. We suggest that the development of strategic-level forest management planning approaches and silvicultural techniques designed to maintain a spectrum of forest compositions and structures at different scales in the landscape is one avenue to maintain this variability. Although we use the boreal forest of Quebec for our examples, it is possible to apply the approach to those portions of the boreal forest where the fire regime favours the development of even-aged stands in bums.

Bergeron, Y., A. Leduc, B. D. Harvey, and S. Gauthier. 2002. Natural fire regime: a guide for sustainable management of the Canadian boreal forest. Silva Fennica, v. 36, no. 1, p. 81-95.