Abstract for CNVC00298


Picea mariana / Alnus incana / Gaultheria hispidula / Sphagnum spp.

Black Spruce / Speckled Alder / Creeping Snowberry / Peat Mosses
Épinette noire / Aulne rugueux / Petit thé / Sphaignes

CNVC00298 is a boreal wetland coniferous forest Association that ranges from Manitoba to Quebec. It has a moderately closed canopy dominated by black spruce (Picea mariana), often with balsam fir (Abies balsamea) present, especially in the Quebec portion of the range. Speckled alder (Alnus incana) dominates the dense shrub layer, which also contains black spruce and balsam fir regeneration, common Labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum), velvet-leaved blueberry (Vaccinium myrtilloides), sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) and early lowbush blueberry (V. angustifolium). The herb layer is usually moderately developed, typically including creeping snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), sedges (Carex spp.), three-leaved false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum trifolium) and goldthread (Coptis trifolia). The moss layer is continuous and dominated by peat mosses (Sphagnum spp.), although red-stemmed feathermoss (Pleurozium schreberi) is common on drier sites (e.g., peat hummocks). CNVC00298 occurs on wet, nutrient-medium to rich sites in a region with a boreal climate that grades from subhumid continental in the west, to very humid and more maritime-influenced in the east. Substrates are usually organic soils formed from slowly decomposing Sphagnum and other mosses. Although fire can occasionally occur, this is typically a stable condition that is maintained by a persistently high water table; local hydrology is the main driver of vegetation dynamics. Three subassociations are distinguished: typic, Rhododendron groenlandicum and Abies balsamea.