Long-term Fire and Biodiversity Dynamics in Subalpine Forests of the Alps

Apr 01, 2019
  • 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Location:
    UBC Okanagan
    Kelowna, BC

UBC Okanagan Lecture:

The lecture will summarize the highlights of 25 years of research in the French and Italian Alps. It will first introduce the great functional and phylogenetic similarities between Alpine and Rocky Mountain ecosystems. Second, the lecture will present the biological proxies selected for vegetation dynamics research and ultimately provide reconstructions applying paleoecological and ecological inferences to improved, and more sustainable management of forest ecosystems. The ecosystem reconstructions are quantitative and intelligible to forest managers, not only being indicative of qualitative trajectories. The long-term scenarios are thus based on fire frequency, forest biomass and measurements of community diversity. Third, the lecture will demonstrate how forest plant diversity interacted with disturbance (fire) in the long term at different community levels, based on results at stand (alpha-diversity), landscape, and regional scales. The lecture will also provide evidence of fire frequency variability before and after the first development of prehistoric farming in high mountain forests and the connection with climate and woody biomass. Finally, the lecture will show how forest biodiversity interplayed with fire regime mostly via the functional effect of fire on tree regeneration mortality.



Christopher Carcaillet is working on the influences of disturbances driven by climatic and social processes on the pattern of plant communities or ecosystems in space and time. His main research focuses on the palaeoecology of fire in relation to climatic changes and plant diversity dynamics in boreal, mountain and Mediterranean biomes. In recent years, he has also been studying the interactions between snow avalanches or insect diseases with socio-ecological systems.

No registration is required for this event.


This event is part of the French Scholars Lecture Series, a partnership between the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and the Consulate General of France in Vancouver. It is also part of the Forestry Faculty Research Seminar Series.