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Multi-century reconstruction of fire activity in Northern European boreal forest suggests differences in regional fire regimes and their sensitivity to climate

Drobyshev, Igor LU ; Granström, Anders; Linderholm, Hans; Hellberg, Erik; Bergeron, Yves and Niklasson, Mats (2014) In Journal of Ecology 102(3). p.738-748
Abstract
Forest fires are one of the main disturbance agents in boreal and temperate ecosystems. To decipher large-scale temporal and spatial patterns of past fire activity in Scandinavia, we analysed the synchronicity of dendrochoronologically reconstructed fire events in a large network of sites (n=62; 3296 samples, 392 individual fire years) covering a wide geographical gradient (56.5-67.0 degrees N and 9.3-20.5 degrees E) over AD 1400-1900. We identified large fire years (LFY) as years with regionally increased forest fire activity and located the geographical centres of climatic anomalies associated with synchronous LFY occurrence across the region, termed LFY centroids. The spatial pattern of LFY centroids indicated the presence of two... (More)
Forest fires are one of the main disturbance agents in boreal and temperate ecosystems. To decipher large-scale temporal and spatial patterns of past fire activity in Scandinavia, we analysed the synchronicity of dendrochoronologically reconstructed fire events in a large network of sites (n=62; 3296 samples, 392 individual fire years) covering a wide geographical gradient (56.5-67.0 degrees N and 9.3-20.5 degrees E) over AD 1400-1900. We identified large fire years (LFY) as years with regionally increased forest fire activity and located the geographical centres of climatic anomalies associated with synchronous LFY occurrence across the region, termed LFY centroids. The spatial pattern of LFY centroids indicated the presence of two regions with climatically mediated synchronicity of fire occurrence, located south and north from 60 degrees N. The return intervals of LFYs in Scandinavia followed a Weibull distribution in both regions. Intervals, however, differed: a period of 40years would carry a 0.93 probability of LFY occurrence in the southern region, but only a 0.48 probability of LFY occurrence in the northern region. Over 1420-1759, the northern region was characterized by significantly higher temporal variability in LFY occurrence than the southern region. Temporal correlation of LFYs with reconstructed average summer temperature and total precipitation was evident mainly for the northern region. LFYs in this region were associated with positive temperature and negative precipitation anomalies over Scandinavia and with colder and wetter conditions in more southern parts of the European subcontinent. Synthesis. Historical patterns of the occurrence of large fire years (LFY) in Scandinavia point towards the presence of two well-defined zones with characteristic fire activity, with the geographical division at approximately 60 degrees N. The northern and mid-boreal forests, although exhibiting lower LFY frequencies, appeared to be more sensitive to past summer climate, as compared to the southern boreal forests. This would imply that fire regimes across Scandinavia may show an asynchronous response to future climate changes. (Less)
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author
organization
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
SOUTHERN SWEDEN, ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION, fire weather, determinants of plant community diversity and structure, PINE FORESTS, HISTORY, LANDSCAPE, VARIABILITY, PATTERNS, HOLOCENE, DYNAMICS, dendrochronology
in
Journal of Ecology
volume
102
issue
3
pages
738 - 748
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:84898812600
ISSN
1365-2745
DOI
10.1111/1365-2745.12235
project
BECC
MERGE
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
36702b85-61c9-4d31-96d4-4ada1d7a5d12 (old id 4815265)
date added to LUP
2014-11-28 12:26:27
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:10:53
@article{36702b85-61c9-4d31-96d4-4ada1d7a5d12,
  abstract     = {Forest fires are one of the main disturbance agents in boreal and temperate ecosystems. To decipher large-scale temporal and spatial patterns of past fire activity in Scandinavia, we analysed the synchronicity of dendrochoronologically reconstructed fire events in a large network of sites (n=62; 3296 samples, 392 individual fire years) covering a wide geographical gradient (56.5-67.0 degrees N and 9.3-20.5 degrees E) over AD 1400-1900. We identified large fire years (LFY) as years with regionally increased forest fire activity and located the geographical centres of climatic anomalies associated with synchronous LFY occurrence across the region, termed LFY centroids. The spatial pattern of LFY centroids indicated the presence of two regions with climatically mediated synchronicity of fire occurrence, located south and north from 60 degrees N. The return intervals of LFYs in Scandinavia followed a Weibull distribution in both regions. Intervals, however, differed: a period of 40years would carry a 0.93 probability of LFY occurrence in the southern region, but only a 0.48 probability of LFY occurrence in the northern region. Over 1420-1759, the northern region was characterized by significantly higher temporal variability in LFY occurrence than the southern region. Temporal correlation of LFYs with reconstructed average summer temperature and total precipitation was evident mainly for the northern region. LFYs in this region were associated with positive temperature and negative precipitation anomalies over Scandinavia and with colder and wetter conditions in more southern parts of the European subcontinent. Synthesis. Historical patterns of the occurrence of large fire years (LFY) in Scandinavia point towards the presence of two well-defined zones with characteristic fire activity, with the geographical division at approximately 60 degrees N. The northern and mid-boreal forests, although exhibiting lower LFY frequencies, appeared to be more sensitive to past summer climate, as compared to the southern boreal forests. This would imply that fire regimes across Scandinavia may show an asynchronous response to future climate changes.},
  author       = {Drobyshev, Igor and Granström, Anders and Linderholm, Hans and Hellberg, Erik and Bergeron, Yves and Niklasson, Mats},
  issn         = {1365-2745},
  keyword      = {SOUTHERN SWEDEN,ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION,fire weather,determinants of plant community diversity and structure,PINE FORESTS,HISTORY,LANDSCAPE,VARIABILITY,PATTERNS,HOLOCENE,DYNAMICS,dendrochronology},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {738--748},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of Ecology},
  title        = {Multi-century reconstruction of fire activity in Northern European boreal forest suggests differences in regional fire regimes and their sensitivity to climate},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12235},
  volume       = {102},
  year         = {2014},
}