Fiona K. A. Schmiegelow


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Predicting patterns of terrestrial lichen biomass recovery following boreal wildfires
Ruth J. Greuel, Geneviève É. Degré‐Timmons, Jennifer L. Baltzer, Jill F. Johnstone, Eliot J. B. McIntire, Nicola J. Day, Sarah J. Hart, Philip D. McLoughlin, Fiona K. A. Schmiegelow, M. R. Turetsky, Alexandre Truchon‐Savard, Mario D. van Telgen, Steven G. Cumming
Ecosphere, Volume 12, Issue 4

Increased fire activity due to climate change may impact the successional dynamics of boreal forests, with important consequences for caribou habitat. Early successional forests have been shown to support lower quantities of caribou forage lichens, but geographic variation in, and controls on, the rates of lichen recovery has been largely unexplored. In this study, we sampled across a broad region in northwestern Canada to compare lichen biomass accumulation in ecoprovinces, including the Saskatchewan Boreal Shield, the Northwest Territories Taiga Shield, and Northwest Territories Taiga Plains, divided into North and South. We focused on the most valuable Cladonia species for boreal and barren-ground caribou: Cladonia mitis and C. arbuscula, C. rangiferina and C. stygia, and C. stellaris and C. uncialis. We developed new allometric equations to estimate lichen biomass from field measurements of lichen cover and height; allometries were consistent among ecoprovinces, suggesting generalizability. We then used estimates of lichen biomass to quantify patterns of lichen recovery in different stand types, ecoprovinces, and with time following stand-replacing fire. We used a hurdle model to account both for the heterogeneous nature of lichen presence (zero inflation) and for the range of abundance in stands where lichen was present. The first component of the hurdle model, a generalized linear model, identified stand age, stand type, and ecoprovince as significant predictors of lichen presence. With a logistic growth model, a measure of lichen recovery (time to 50% asymptotic value) varied from 28 to 73 yr, dependent on stand type and ecoprovince. The combined predictions of the hurdle model suggest the most rapid recovery of lichen biomass across our study region occurred in jack pine in the Boreal Shield (30 yr), while stands located in the Taiga Plains (North and South) required a longer recovery period (approximately 75 yr). These results provide a basis for estimating future caribou habitat that encompasses some of the large variation in fire effects on lichen abundance and vegetation types across the range of boreal and barren-ground caribou in North America.


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Climate‐change refugia in boreal North America: what, where, and for how long?
Diana Stralberg, Dominique Arseneault, Jennifer L. Baltzer, Quinn E. Barber, Erin M. Bayne, Yan Boulanger, Clifford M. Brown, Hilary A. Cooke, K. J. Devito, Jason E. Edwards, César A. Estevo, Nadele Flynn, Lee E. Frelich, Edward H. Hogg, Mark Johnston, Travis Logan, Steven M. Matsuoka, Paul A. Moore, Toni Lyn Morelli, Jacques Morissette, Elizabeth A. Nelson, Hedvig K. Nenzén, Scott E. Nielsen, Marc André Parisien, John H. Pedlar, David T. Price, Fiona K. A. Schmiegelow, Stuart M. Slattery, Oliver Sonnentag, Daniel K. Thompson, Ellen Whitman
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Volume 18, Issue 5

H latitude regions around the world are experiencing particularly rapid climate change. These regions include the 625 million ha North American boreal region, which contains 16% of the world’s forests and plays a major role in the global carbon cycle (Brandt et al. 2013). Boreal ecosystems are particularly susceptible to rapid climatedriven vegetation change initiated by standreplacing natural disturbances (notably fires), which have increased in number, extent, and frequency (Kasischke and Turetsky 2006; Hanes et al. 2018) and are expected to continue under future climate change (Boulanger et al. 2014). Such disturbances will increasingly complicate species persistence, and it will therefore be critical to identify locations of possible climatechange refugia (areas “relatively buffered from contemporary climate change”) (Morelli et al. 2016). These “slow lanes” for biodiversity will be especially important for conservation and management of boreal species and ecosystems (Morelli et al. 2020). Practically speaking, the refugia concept can translate into specific sites or regions that are expected to be more resistant to the influence of climate change than other areas (“in situ refugia”; Ashcroft 2010). Refugia may also encompass sites or regions to which species may more readily retreat as climate conditions change (“ex situ refugia”; Ashcroft 2010; Keppel et al. 2012), as well as temporary “stepping stones” (Hannah et al. 2014) linking current and future habitats. In addition to areas that are climatically buffered, fire refugia – “places that are disturbed less frequently or less severely by wildfire” (Krawchuk et al. 2016) – may also play key roles in promoting ecosystem persistence under changing conditions (Meddens et al. 2018). Previous examinations of climatechange refugia have primarily emphasized external, terrainmediated mechanisms. Factors such as topographic shading and temperature inverClimatechange refugia in boreal North America: what, where, and for how long?