Evapotranspiration in Intermediate-aged and Mature Fens and Upland Black Spruce Boreal Forests

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title


First Page


Last Page





The Canadian boreal forest consists of a mosaic of landscapes of varying soil drainage and forest age driven by wildfire. The hydrological consequences are complicated by plant responses to soil moisture and forest age, both potentially influencing evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration was measured using the energy balance residual technique in 2006 and 2007 at forested upland and fen sites that originated following fire in 1964, 1930 and about 1850, near Thompson, Manitoba, Canada. Both net radiation and sensible heat flux density were greater at the older sites than those at the younger sites. Evapotranspiration was also greater at the older sites by between 4 and 19% for the 1930–1964 comparison, and 15% for the 1930–1850 comparison. There was no difference in net radiation between upland and fen sites of the same age, although upland sites had a higher sensible heat flux density. Albedo was greater at the fen sites. Evapotranspiration was greater at the upland sites by 11–20%, likely driven by greater leaf area at the upland sites. These intermediate to mature boreal forest sites still show the persistence of the impact of fire, and it is clear that changes in drainage and local hydrology will also have an impact on local evapotranspiration. The implication is that even these small changes in evapotranspiration can have a great regional and global effect because of the large land area of the boreal forest.


Version of record can be found through Wiley.