Effects of the Beech Tree Invasion Project

The management of sugar maple tree stands in southern Quebec when faced with the beech tree invasion and drought.
– Audrey Maheu, David Rivest, Philippe Nolet, Frédérik Doyon (UQO)

In southern Quebec, the temperate forest faces two threats: the large-leaved beech invasion of maple groves and the expected increase in the frequency and severity of droughts with climate change. This research project aims to: 1) identify areas of beech invasion, 2) understand the effects of that invasion on resource availability in a changing climate, and 3) assess the effects of development on beech invasion. First, the project will develop tools for detecting areas of beech invasion using mobile land LiDAR and aerial LiDAR. Managers will thus be able to better take this issue into account in forest planning. Second, the project will study the effect of beech invasion on regeneration, hydrological flows and soil properties. A precipitation exclusion system will also be put in place to simulate severe drought conditions and better understand the joint impact of beech invasion and drought. Finally, the project will identify the conditions and disturbances associated with the stagnation of forest ecosystems using field surveys and remote sensing data and will model the risk of ecosystem collapse with climate change. The knowledge and tools acquired will enable stakeholders in the forest industry involved in planning or harvesting to set up a management strategy for beech invasion adapted to climate change.

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