1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event details: A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES MSc Final Exam Seminar by Christine Kuntzemann. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.
Peatlands Reduce Fire Severity and Promote Fire Refugia in Boreal Forests
MSc with Dr. Scott Nielsen
I investigated the role of hydrological and ecological heterogeneity on fire severity and fire refugia probability under different spatial and temporal climate moisture conditions in the Alberta boreal region over a 33-year (1985-2018) period. I used generalized linear models to examine relationships of fire severity and probability of refugia as a function of bottom-up (e.g., vegetation, site moisture) and top-down (climate) controls. Peatlands had lower fire severities and a higher probability of refugia than uplands, with vegetation having the strongest control on fire severity and refugia. Bogs decreased fire severity in adjacent uplands under all climatic moisture conditions, but did not affect refugia probability; whereas fens reduced fire severity and increased the probability of refugia in adjacent uplands under all conditions. This suggests that areas of hydrologically-connected peatlands may be capable of slowing future vegetation transitions, stemming from climate-driven increases to fire severity and post-disturbance moisture stress, in neighboring uplands.