A 250-yr postfire plant chronosequence in well-drained sites at the northern limit of the boreal forest in the Grande riviere de la Baleine area, N. Quebec, was reconstructed from 9 sites associated with the development of the lichen/spruce (Cladina stellaris/Picea mariana) woodland. Most species recorded along the chronosequence reinvaded burned sites within 15 yr after fire, but important vegetational changes occurred during the first 100 yr of postfire recovery, corresponding to full development of the lichen/spruce woodland. No vascular plant species replacement was observed during succession, whereas by contrast a well-defined lichen-bryophyte sequence occurred along 5 successional stages. Species diversity (Shannon index) was low 4 yr after fire, but it reached a max. about 25 yr after fire and then declined and stabilized at a low value in old-growth woodlands. The active period of P. mariana sexual regeneration spans about 20-25 yr, with max. regeneration occurring 5-14 yr after fire. After this period, seed regeneration is mostly sporadic and sustained layering becomes fairly common at all sites. From 100 to 250 yr after fire, no significant changes were observed in vegetation structure, floristic composition, species diversity and spruce regeneration, suggesting that lichen woodlands are self-perpetuating in the absence of fire. In limiting spruce regeneration at the ground surface, the lichen cover seems to be the most important factor controlling the open structure of the lichen/spruce woodland.