Long-term consequences of spruce budworm epidemics on forest stand-level carbon dynamics

Project overview: Major disturbances such as wildfires and insect epidemics are major determinants of carbon dynamics and balance in the boreal forest. The likely increase in frequency and severity that these disturbances will experience in the future is the largest source of uncertainty concerning the ability of those forests to play their role in climate change mitigation. To contribute to reducing these uncertainties, the present project aims to study how the most important insect pest of eastern Canada resinous forests, the spruce budworm (SBW), affects carbon dynamics. Contrary to wildfires, SBWs do not cause direct carbon emissions but alter the future carbon dynamics of affected stands by causing mortality and growth loss. The consequences of such effects on the carbon stored in trees are easily inferable, but few studies have focused on their consequences on soil organic carbon dynamics in the short and long-terms. Our objective is therefore to address these issues by comparing carbon stocks in both soils and vegetation of stands affected by the SBW recently, during the previous epidemics, as well as in unaffected stands.

Starting date: As necessary.

Location: The selected candidate will become a member of the Forest Research Institute (IRF;, working primarily in the town of Sept-Îles, home of a growing team of researchers and graduate students. Aside from the Côte-Nord, fieldwork will necessitate travels in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and James Bay regions of Québec. Sept-Îles itself is a small town nestled in a bay on the northern shores of the Gulf of Saint-Lawrence. Its region is a paradise for seafood- and nature-lovers and practitioners of all kinds of outdoor activities: hiking, camping, sea or river kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing, fishing, sailing, whale watching, etc.

Funding: Grant of 21 000$/year for three years.

In order to applicate: Send a resume, cover letter, grades and the name of two references to Xavier Cavard ( A Master diploma or equivalent in ecology, biology or linked discipline is required, as well as a physical condition fit enough for prolonged fieldwork in remote forested areas.

Potential applicants must send the requested documents before October 30th 2021.

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