The black spruce is a common species in North American boreal forests and it needs wildfires to survive, but the blazes are now so frequent that the spruces are struggling
25 October 2021
By Chen Ly
For millennia, black spruces (Picea mariana) have been a common presence across Arctic forests in North America, but they are now being threatened by more frequent and severe wildfires.
Like many other trees in these forests, the spruce – an evergreen conifer – depends on fire for regeneration. As fire moves across the landscape, the trees’ cones, which are covered in a waxy coat, heat up and slowly open to release their seeds onto the new seedbed.