, Volume 22, Issue 8, pp 1838–1851 | Cite as

Simulation and Analysis of the Effect of a Spruce Budworm Outbreak on Carbon Dynamics in Boreal Forests of Quebec

  • Zelin Liu
  • Changhui PengEmail author
  • Louis De Grandpré
  • Jean-Noël Candau
  • Timothy Work
  • Chunbo Huang
  • Daniel Kneeshaw


In a climate change context, the sequestration of atmospheric carbon (C) in forests is key for achieving emission targets. It is thus critical to understand how large-scale disturbances are affecting the overall forest C stocks. C dynamics in North American boreal forest ecosystems are strongly affected by the defoliation and mortality that occurs during a spruce budworm (SBW) outbreak. We used forest inventory geospatial databases, monthly climate data, spatially explicit defoliation sequence data, and the TRIPLEX-Insect model to simulate C dynamics with and without SBW disturbances in stands with different vulnerability to the SBW in the boreal forest of Quebec. Our results showed that SBW defoliation and related mortality decreased the average aboveground biomass and belowground biomass by 5.96% and 6.94% by 2017, respectively. At the same time, 21,046 km2 of forest were converted from a C sink to a source. This study provides the first quantitative analysis of the effect of a SBW outbreak on carbon dynamics for three different boreal stand types (that is, fir, spruce, and mixed fir-spruce) at a regional scale. Our results suggested that younger fir forests lost less C than either fir-spruce or spruce forests during SBW attacks between 2007 and 2017 in Quebec. This highlights the importance of considering species composition when assessing vulnerability or resilience.


forest carbon tree mortality natural disturbance TRIPLEX-Insect net ecosystem productivity cumulative defoliation 



This study was a part of research project recently funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FQRNT) program and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discover Grant. We wish to thank Marie-Claude Lambert for supplying the climate data used in this analysis. We also appreciate Dr. Jonathan Boucher from SOPFEU who provided the mortality data for validation in this study.

Supplementary material

10021_2019_377_MOESM1_ESM.docx (4.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 4340 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zelin Liu
    • 1
  • Changhui Peng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Louis De Grandpré
    • 2
  • Jean-Noël Candau
    • 3
  • Timothy Work
    • 1
  • Chunbo Huang
    • 1
    • 4
  • Daniel Kneeshaw
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Québec at MontrealMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Laurentian Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest ServiceNatural Resources CanadaQuebecCanada
  3. 3.Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest ServiceNatural Resources CanadaPeterboroughCanada
  4. 4.College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences, Hubei Engineering Technology Research Center for Forestry InformationHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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