Topography and elevation: White spruce typically grows on floodplains, upland slopes, and treeline sites [83,101,136,137,218], although it grows on a variety of landscape positions [349]. While these models are based on empirical data, they lack regional-scale (remotely sensed) validation data that distinguish black spruce from white spruce. Secondary colonizer (on- or off-site seed sources), Fire adaptations and plant response to fire: White spruce established in 2 waves after the fire. Table modified from [358]. Across Arctic and boreal regions, the area burned, fire behavior, and fire severity in white spruce-dominated communities will likely increase with global climate changes, although predicted future fire occurrence varies spatially throughout the region.
On 1 of the 4 white spruce plots, 75% of the white spruce trees present ~100 years after fire established in the first 25 years; this is similar to black spruce establishment patterns.
After fires were excluded (~1920), stands began to succeed to either northern hardwoods or balsam fir-white spruce. White spruce does not typically recruit into the interior of large fires unless unburned white spruce remain within the burned area [430]. For instance, burn patterns may be more homogenous on flat landscapes than on hilly or mountainous landscapes [115], and differences in flammability among plant communities create different fire behavior [128,154]. Additional seedbed characteristics that affect white spruce germination and establishment include soil structure, smothering by leaf litter, microsite topography, light and nutrient availability, and competing vegetation [103,148,263] (see Seedling establishment for more information on these topics). For additional information about prescribed burning on sites that were clearcut in British Columbia see the following Research Papers: For information about white spruce seedling establishment on experimental prescribed burns in red and eastern white pine forests see the following Research Project Summary: Prescribed fire for habitat enhancement: Prescribed fire is used to enhance wildlife habitat on white spruce and Lutz spruce sites on the Kenai Peninsula [42,443,452]. For a summary of reported fire-return intervals and fire-rotation intervals for white spruce communities in Alaska, see Table 2 in FEIS's Fire regimes of Alaskan white spruce communities synthesis. All growth happens from the tips of the live branches. White spruce is not limited to initial postfire regeneration; it commonly establishes later in succession [17,34,67,145,330,429,463]. Emerging light green, its fine needles turn to blue-green as they mature. I have a Weeping White Spruce that I think has reached maturity because even the leader is now weeping. Branches slightly drooping; twigs not pendent, rather slender, pinkish brown, glabrous. In a similar study at Petawawa Forest Experiment Station, Ontario, the moisture content of conifer foliage (including white spruce) followed similar patterns. The authors concluded that these stands were less susceptible to fire than the surrounding forests due to higher soil moisture and sheltered topography. White spruce seed in burned areas is typically dispersed from unburned trees within or adjacent to the burned sites, because white spruce trees are usually killed by fire and cones are not serotinous [156,263,466]. Lead buds get damaged all the time. In white spruce and Lutz spruce forests on the Kenai Peninsula, spruce beetle outbreaks occurred every 50 years on average, whereas fires occurred approximately every 400 to 600 years [31].


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