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Introduction

Since the beginning of scientific activities in the area of the LDRTF in the ‘80s, a major part of research has been aimed at understanding key processes acting in natural ecosystems at landscape, stand and organism levels. Characterization of the southern boreal forest under the natural disturbance regime has provided a means of , among other things, evaluating the impact of modifications to this regime caused by climatic changes and by human intervention at more local or regional scales. Early work in forest ecological classification established the relationships between physical site conditions, soils and the forest communities found in the area. Several studies in forest dynamics, notably on fire history and insect outbreaks and the natural disturbance regime, climate change and the relationships between forest landscapes and bird populations are several examples of research themes that extend far beyond the borders of the Lake Duparquet Forest. At the stand scale, research into the dynamics and processes acting on forest succession and productivity as well as silvicultural trials on natural regeneration of jack pine and mixed-wood stands, plantation establishment and impact studies of forest interventions on long-term soil productivity are several examples of projects undertaken in the LDRTF. At the organism level, work on selection and genetic improvement of conifer seedlings, research on physiological responses of seedlings and understory vegetation to light levels in natural stands and on aspen suckering are included among our activities.

A strong link between fundamental and applied research is something of a trademark for the Lake Duparquet Forest. In effect, we are attempting to develop innovative silviculture and management approaches, based on our understanding of natural ecosystem dynamics and processes, that can be applied the larger area the boreal forest. Technical trials therefore become the object of applied research in an effort to test hypotheses based at least partially on basic knowledge. Approaches to intervening in the forest will be adjusted as these experiences shed new light on our understanding of treatment effect ; this is the essence of adaptive management. An important part of applied research in the next ten years will be devoted to the developing new silvicultural approaches adapted to forest ecosystem management. We are currently developing a five-year research program. The LDRTF is part of the Forest Ecosystem Research Network of Sites (FERNS) established in 1996 by the Forest Practices Network of the Canadian Forest Service. The Lake Duparquet Forest is also a demonstration site for the Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) in Sustainable Forest Management, a national network of industrial, university and government partners developing a strong scientific foundation for SFM.

 

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