Alison Munson

Alison Munson
Laval University | ULAVAL · Department of Wood and Forest Sciences

PhD

About

125
Publications
30,298
Reads
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3,345
Citations
Citations since 2017
34 Research Items
1554 Citations
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Introduction
I am a plant-soil researcher with a functional approach, that is using plant traits, particularly root traits to understand belowground processes. My main research projects are 1) investigating soil carbon stabilization mechanisms with respect to root traits, and 2) investigating intra-specific variability of traits. I work in boreal and temperate forests, and more recently urban ecosystems.
Additional affiliations
June 1991 - present
Laval University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • Undergraduate courses: Ecosystem management; Forest carbon cycle Graduate courses: Principles of ecosystem managementl; Forest carbon cycle; Plant functional traits

Publications

Publications (125)
Article
Full-text available
An emerging paradigm regarding vegetation response to climate warming is that the interaction of weather extremes and disturbance will trigger abrupt changes in ecosystem types by overcoming resilience of dominant species. Black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.)) ecosystems are widespread across the North American boreal forest, because of ecophysiolog...
Article
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The integration of functional traits into vulnerability assessments is a promising approach to quantitatively capture differences in species sensitivity and adaptive capacity to climate change, allowing the refinement of tree species distribution models. In response to a clear need to identify traits that are responsive to climate change and applic...
Article
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Studies of biodiversity–ecosystem function in treed ecosystems have generally focused on aboveground functions. This study investigates intertrophic links between tree diversity and soil microbial community function and composition. We examined how microbial communities in surface mineral soil responded to experimental gradients of tree species ric...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims We evaluated the influence of plant species and life forms on soil aggregate distribution among size-classes, total macroaggregate mass and aggregate mean weight diameter (MWD), and examined how specific root traits were related to these aggregation variables. Methods We analyzed the soil attached to the roots (i.e., rhizospher...
Article
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• Soil C is the largest C pool in forest ecosystems that contributes to C sequestration and mitigates climate change. Tree diversity enhances forest productivity, so diversifying the tree species composition, notably in managed forests, could increase the quantity of organic matter being transferred to soils and alter other soil properties relevant...
Article
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The formation and turnover of soil organic carbon (C), the largest terrestrial C pool, is strongly impacted by the ultimate source of that C: leaves, wood, roots, and root exudates. The quantity and quality of these inputs is determined by the identity of the plants involved. Yet substantial uncertainty surrounds the complex relationships among pla...
Article
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Previous studies have demonstrated that tree species diversity increases productivity and may enhance nutrient cycling in forests. The effect of mixing tree species on stand‐level nutrient use efficiency (NutUE) has seldom been studied, and even less so in the context of climate change. Here we present the first study examining how diversity effect...
Article
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As soils store more carbon (C) than the Earth’s atmosphere and terrestrial biomass together, the balance between soil C uptake in the form of soil organic matter and release as CO2 upon its decomposition is a critical determinant in the global C cycle regulating our planet’s climate. Although plant litter is the predominant source of C fuelling bot...
Article
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1. Intraspecific trait variability (ITV) provides the material for species’ adaptation to environmental changes. To advance our understanding of how ITV can contribute to species’ adaptation to a wide range of environmental conditions, we studied five widespread understorey forest species exposed to both continental‐scale climate gradients, and loc...
Technical Report
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Pour promouvoir l’adaptation des forêts aux changements climatiques, on considère le déplacement de populations et d’espèces d’arbres du sud vers le nord. Le succès de la migration assistée de ces arbres dépendra de leur capacité à s’établir, notamment en présence de certains facteurs limitants. Nous avons établi une expérience de simulation en ser...
Article
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To facilitate forest transition to future climate conditions, managers can use adaptive silvicultural tools, for example the assisted translocation of tree species and genotypes to areas with suitable future climate conditions (i.e., assisted migration). Like traditional plantations, however, assisted migration plantations are at risk of failure be...
Article
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Plant traits determine how individual plants cope with heterogeneous environments. Despite large variability in individual traits, trait coordination and trade-offs1,2 result in some trait combinations being much more widespread than others, as revealed in the global spectrum of plant form and function (GSPFF3) and the root economics space (RES4) f...
Poster
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In Canada, the woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) is a "threatened" species under the Species at Risk Act. Among the disturbances to caribou habitat, the presence of a road network is one of the most damaging. Indeed, the roads generated by the forest industry facilitates movement for predators and promotes regeneration of leafy tree spec...
Article
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This study reports on the evaluation of 46 Acacia mangium provenances and varieties, which were planted in 2006 on the Ibi-Batéké Plateau, Democratic Republic of the Congo. After seven years, tree height and diameter, biomass and carbon stocks of the 46 Acacia mangium provenances, together with soil carbon and nitrogen concentrations, were compared...
Article
The objective of this study was to examine the interactive influence of tree diversity and water availability on microbial functioning in surface soil (0-10 cm). The study was conducted at IDENT-SSM (age 4.2 years) and ORPHEE (age 9.0 years), two field experiments of the TreeDivNet platform that established plantations with a gradient of tree speci...
Article
Forest management activities are increasingly analyzed through a lens that quantifies their effects on soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) storage, because forest soils are an important C sink. Data on the longer-term impacts of repeated interventions are often lacking. At the Petawawa Research Forest, Ontario, treatments to evaluate the effect of rep...
Article
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Different silvicultural treatments that are applied at plantation establishment may drive different vegetation succession pathways. These divergent vegetation types subsequently feed back to influence soil carbon and nitrogen cycles. One potential mechanism of feedback is through litter decomposition, and in particular fine root decomposition (FRD;...
Article
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An improved fallow agroforestry practice, that involves planting Acacia auriculiformis trees to accelerate soil fertility recovery, was taught to 306 farmers in Mampu agroforestry zone on the Batéké Plateau in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from 1995 to 2001. Our study (1) assessed the principal factors that determined the continued applicat...
Article
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Ecologists are increasingly asking large scale and/or broad scope questions that require vast datasets. In response, various top‐down efforts and incentives have been implemented to encourage data sharing and integration. However, despite general consensus on the critical need for more open ecological data, several roadblocks still discourage compl...
Preprint
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Functional diversity holds the promise of understanding ecosystems in ways unattainable by taxonomic diversity studies. Underlying this promise is the intuition that investigating the diversity of what organisms actually do-i.e. their functional traits-within ecosystems will generate more reliable insights into the ways these ecosystems behave, com...
Article
Functional diversity holds the promise of understanding ecosystems in ways unattainable by taxonomic diversity studies. Underlying this promise is the intuition that investigating the diversity of what organisms actually do—i.e. their functional traits—within ecosystems will generate more reliable insights into the ways these ecosystems behave, com...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose This study aimed to assess the impact of two biochars applied at the rate of 15 t ha⁻¹ on physico-chemical parameters of an oxisol in Cameroon. Methods The biochars were made from slow pyrolysis (~ 300 °C, 4 h) of eucalyptus tree bark and corncobs and then incorporated into the top 15 cm of the soil with or without straw. The soil tillage...
Article
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1.Considering intraspecific trait variability (ITV) in ecological studies has improved our understanding of species persistence and coexistence. These advances are based on the growing number of leaf ITV studies over local gradients, but logistical constraints have prevented a solid examination of ITV in root traits or at scales reflecting species'...
Article
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Recent studies have reported positive net diversity effects on aboveground tree growth. However, whether similar effects occur belowground through root investment, and whether such effects are related to evergreenness of tree communities, is less clear. Here we studied vertical distribution of standing fine root biomass of twelve North American tem...
Article
Landscape aesthetics provides humans with health and social benefits contributing to overall well-being, thus representing a cultural ecosystem service. Landscape biophysical and social attributes create information that is interpreted as either beauty or blight by the mind of the beholder. The ARtificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services (ARIES)...
Preprint
Plant roots contribute substantially to the formation of stable soil organic matter (SOM), and there is evidence that species differ in their contribution to SOM stabilization. However, it remains unclear what specific root traits contribute to the three SOM stabilization mechanisms: recalcitrance against decomposition, occlusion in soil aggregates...
Article
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Knowledge of plant architecture allows retrospective study of plant development, hence provides powerful tools, through modelling and simulation, to link this development with environmental constraints, and then predict its response to global change. The present study aims to determine some of the main endogenous and exogenous variables driving the...
Article
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In many developing countries, traditional earth-mound kilns are still the principal technology for biochar production. The present study focused on the production and characterization of two biochars from common agricultural and forestry residues in Cameroon: corncob and eucalyptus tree bark. A pilot-scale retort kiln, made from local material, was...
Article
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Agroforestry is an ancient practice widespread throughout Africa. However, the influence of Sahelian agroforestry systems on carbon storage in soil and biomass remains poorly understood. We evaluated the carbon storage potential of three agroforestry systems (fallow, parkland and rangeland) and five tree species (Faidherbia albida, Acacia raddiana,...
Article
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Our field trial in Cameroon assessed the effect of biochar on nutrient uptake and maize yield, following a single application of 15 t ha-1 of biochar to an oxisol under two soil tillage modes. Treatments were (T2) fertilizer + corncob biochar (CCB); (T3) fertilizer + eucalyptus biochar (EB); (T4) Straw + fertilizer + CCB; (T5) Straw + fertilizer +...
Article
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This study measured changes in forest composition that have occurred since the preindustrial era along the toposequence of the Gatineau River Valley, Quebec, Canada (5650 km2), based on survey records prior to colonization (1804-1864) and recent forest inventories (1982-2006). Changes in forest cover composition over time were found to be specific...
Presentation
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The effect of biochar on soil physical parameters is not clear, particularly for furrows and ridges systems. Biochar properties, soil type, and agricultural system may all influence these effects. The main objective of this study was to assess the impact of two biochars applied at the rate of 15 t ha-1 on physical parameters of an oxisol (clay loam...
Presentation
Full-text available
Il est de nos jours admis que la restauration de la fertilité des oxisols tropicaux pourrait contribuer à freiner considérablement le phénomène de déforestation dans ces zones. Les récentes études montrent que le biochar pourrait être utilisé comme amendement pour améliorer la structure de ces sols. Cependant, il n’existe presque pas de travaux con...
Poster
Full-text available
Expérience conduite en plein champ dans la région de l’Ouest Cameroun en Afrique centrale avec pour objectif de vérifier l’effet de deux biochars, d’origine agricole et forestier, sur les propriétés physiques et la rétention en eau d’un oxisol.
Conference Paper
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In boreal forests, pyrogenic carbon (PyC), a by-product of recurrent wildfires, is an important component of the global soil C pool, although precise assessment of boreal PyC stock is scarce. In this study including 14 fire sites spreading over 600 km in the Quebec province, our aim was to better estimate total C stock and PyC stock in forest floor...
Article
Pyrogenic carbon (PyC), a major by-product of wildfires in boreal forests, plays several critical roles in soil biogeochemical processes. However, PyC properties, including its potential recalcitrance, may vary depending on its formation conditions. Our study aimed to characterize the chemical and physical properties of PyC formed under variable fi...
Poster
Full-text available
L’une des causes directes de la dégradation des forêts tropicales est l’expansion des pratiques agricoles non durables. La valorisation des résidus agricoles et des exploitations forestières dans un contexte de changement climatique pour une agriculture durable se présente donc comme un défi et une nécessité pour les agriculteurs en zone tropicale....
Article
Pyrogenic carbon (PyC), a by-product of recurrent boreal wildfires, is an important component of the global soil C pool, although precise assessment of boreal PyC stock is scarce. The overall objective of this study was to estimate total C stock and PyC stock in forest floors of Eastern Canada boreal forests.We also investigated the environmental c...
Article
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Planting stock selection is an integral part of plantation management, as forest nursery practices influence the physiological status of the seedlings and their capacity to cope with resource availability on different planting sites. We thus compared the 11th-year dimensions and survival of large white spruce (Picea glauca) and black spruce (P. mar...
Article
QuestionIn fire-prone boreal forests, to what extent does fire severity influence understorey plant community assembly? What are the abiotic and biotic factors controlling understorey community regeneration at regional, landscape and local scales?LocationBlack spruce-dominated boreal forest in eastern Canada.MethodsA taxonomic and a trait-based app...
Article
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Sustainable management of boreal ecosystems involves the establishment of vigorous tree regeneration after harvest. However, two groups of understory plants influence regeneration success in eastern boreal Canada. Ericaceous shrubs are recognized to rapidly dominate susceptible boreal sites after harvest. Such dominance reduces recruitment and caus...
Article
The intensity of boreal forest wildfires is highly variable, such that natural wood charcoal can be produced at different peak temperatures. This, in turn, may have consequences on the physico-chemical and functional properties of the charcoal that is returned to soil. We report on a microcosm study where black spruce wood charcoal produced at five...
Article
Aims Natural disturbances leave long-term legacies that vary among landscapes and ecosystem types, and which become integral parts of successional processes at a given location. As humans change land use, not only are immediate post-disturbance patterns altered, but the processes of recovery themselves are likely altered by the disturbance. We asse...
Article
The two major disturbance types of boreal black spruce forest in north–central Quebec, Canada – natural disturbance by wildfire and anthropogenic disturbance by harvest – may affect processes of recovery differently and leave distinct post-disturbance soil and vegetation spatial patterns. We tested whether 1) spatial patterns of physico-chemical so...
Article
The practice of careful logging has been mandated in northeastern Canada’s coniferous and mixedwood forests as a means of protecting natural regeneration while minimizing soil disturbance by machinery. This practice imposes evenly spaced, parallel trails for circulation of harvesting machinery, while most of the understory and soil is left intact i...
Article
Black spruce (Picea mariana) trees have needles that persist for a number of years, and it is not clear which age class should be evaluated for photosynthesis to best understand physiological responses. Moreover, the impact of sampling current versus older foliage is rarely acknowledged in published literature, even though it may influence the inte...
Article
The present study investigates potential differences in trait plasticity as an additional contributing mechanism explaining ericaceous shrub dominance during different periods after logging. Two ericaceous species (Kalmia angustifolia, Rhododendron groenlandicum), and black spruce plants (Picea mariana), were submitted to combinations of 3 light le...
Article
The eleven symposia organized for the 2009 conference of the International Society for Ecological Modelling (ISEM 2009) held in Quebec City, Canada, October 6–9, 2009, included facilitated discussion sessions following formal presentations. Each symposium focused on a specific subject, and all the subjects could be classified into three broad categ...
Article
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Sites dominated by Kalmia angustifolia L. are often associated with slow decomposition of organic matter, decreased nitrogen (N) mineralization rates, and low black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) productivity. The objective of this study was to separate the effects of belowground competition by Kalmia from the effects of water-soluble soil phen...
Article
The impacts of partial cut systems on nutrient availability and understory vegetation are poorly understood. To examine these responses, white spruce dominated stands in the boreal mixedwood of Alberta were clear-cut or partial-cut and the forest floor treated by slash burning, mixing, mounding, or scalping in a split-plot design. Soil nutrient ava...
Article
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Piceamariana (Mill.) B.S.P. (black spruce) seedlings were outplanted in three black spruce dominated ecosystems (operational groups of the regional Forest Ecosystem Classification system) of the Clay Belt and also planted in pots of intact forest humus substrates from these sites to investigate response to site nutrient condition, to diagnose limit...
Article
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Bioassay and field outplanting experiments in three black spruce dominated ecosystems examined 1st- and 2nd-year responses of Piceamariana (Mill.) B.S.P. seedlings to nitrogen fertilization in the same season as outplanting. The two experiments also tested a previous diagnosis of relative N deficiency on lowland Alnus–Herb poor and Ledum sites comp...
Article
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First and second-season morphological responses of outplanted Piceamariana (Mill.) B.S.P. (black spruce) seedlings to site conditions of three cutover boreal ecosystems were analysed in terms of biomass and nutrient allocation to structural components (current shoots, previous year's shoots, stem, and roots). Improved N nutrition on an upland Feath...
Article
Black spruce (Piceamariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) containerized seedlings were raised at high fertilizer regimes, i.e., "nutrient loaded," during greenhouse culture to assess whether increased preplant nutrient reserves improved site-specific outplanting performance. Growing media electrical conductivity levels during the greenhouse phase ranged between 0...
Article
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The relationship between forest humus chemistry and net N mineralization in three boreal ecosystems was investigated by measuring N release in samples during an 8-week aerobic laboratory incubation. Nitrogen mineralization was significantly greater in the upland Feathermoss humus, intermediate in the Ledum humus, and lowest in Alnus – Herb poor sub...
Article
Full-text available
The acclimation of planted black spruce (Piceamariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) seedlings to site nutrient condition was assessed by comparing their nutrient status with that of naturally regenerated seedlings on the same site during a 2-year period. The seasonal patterns for N, P, and K status (nutrient concentration and content) were markedly different for...
Article
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Precommercial thinning is being tested in Quebec as a preventive silvicultural treatment to reduce vulnerability of young balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) stands to spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana (Clem.)) damage and to shorten rotations. As part of a larger study of ecosystem response to thinning, we have examined the impact of this...
Article
In the context increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration, there is a growing interest for using afforestation and reforestation to claim emissions reductions. Establishment of plantations necessarily involves silvicultural treatments that affect environmental conditions and hence soil microbial communities, influencing carbon and nitrogen cycles and...
Article
Full-text available
In boreal black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) dominated stands, careful logging around advance regeneration contributes to protect the shrub layer while increasing light availability. Therefore, it may promote expansion of bog Labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum (Oeder) Kron & Judd), which can impair black spruce growth by direct competit...
Article
Afforestation and reforestation are considered important tools for mitigating fossil fuel emission; however, establishment of plantations necessarily involves several silvicultural treatments that may influence soil organic C sequestration and, potentially, its relative stability. An experimental design established 20 yr ago, consisting of plantati...
Article
Vegetative layering of black spruce (Picea mariana [Mill.] B.S.P.) is the principal mode of regeneration for over mature, uneven-aged stands subject to long fire cycles (>300 years) in northeastern Québec, Canada. However, growth response of black spruce layers following disturbance by fire or harvest can be slow, due to a lag of morphological accl...
Article
Plant species distribution and plant community composition vary along environmental gradients. At the continental scale, climate plays a major role in determining plant distribution, while at the local and regional scales vegetation patterns are more strongly related to edaphic and topographic factors. The projected global warming and alteration of...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Climate change is already affecting Canada’s forests and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Impacts observed to date include changes in forest fire regimes, large-scale insect outbreaks, droughts in central Canada, severe windstorms in Atlantic Canada and shorter periods of frozen soil. Climate change will affect forest growth rates...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Les plantes peuvent répondre à un changement d’environnement, comme une coupe, avec un niveau plus ou moins élevé de flexibilité qui peut déterminer leur capacité à occuper le territoire. Cette plasticité se mesure par des changements au niveau des traits physiologiques et morphologiques. Dans les pessières à éricacées, il semble que la lumière et...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) is one of the most economically valuable conifers in eastern North America and part of our ecological heritage. In the province of Quebec, by the late 1800's, most mature specimens had been selectively logged, particularly along the St. Lawrence River and its major tributaries, leav...
Article
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Fertilisation is considered essential for tree growth on cut-over peatlands. However, little research has been carried out on these managed ecosystems in North America. Two experiments were conducted on peatlands planted with black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill B.S.P.) and tamarack (Larix laricina (Du Roi) K. Koch). The first experiment compared the...
Article
Full-text available
In boreal forests of eastern Canada, wildfire has gradually been replaced by clearcut harvesting as the most extensive form of disturbance. Such a shift in disturbance may influence the chemical properties of the forest floor and its capacity to cycle and supply nutrients, with possible implications for forest productivity. We compared the effects...