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Fire disturbance and forest dynamics

Kristi Parro
7.12. 2015, Tartu

Partly based on materials supplied by Kajar Kster and Floor Vodde

Make a list of disturbances, by..


Affects the biggest
area

1.
2.
3.
4.

Fire

Releases most
carbon
(in shortest period)

1.
2.
3.
4.

Insects

Wind

Biggest threat to
people
1.
2.
3.
4.

Pathogens (fungi)

Disturbances in Europe (annual average 1998-2002)


Forest fires 326 000 ha
Insect infestations 1 400 000 ha
Pathogens 2 178 000 ha
Wind 7 038 000 ha
In total: 10 942 000 ha (ca 2%)

Disturbances in Estonia

Types of forest fire

Ground fires
Surface fires
Crown or canopy fires

Disturbance impact

Jactel et al. 2012 Ecology & Society

Fire occurrence and severity depend on:


1. Ignition source
lightning
human

Incidence of lightning

NASA lightning team

Global occurrence of fire

Global fires during the years 2008 and 2014 for short periods in the months of August (top image) and February (bottom image),
as detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite.

Global fire map

earthobservatory.nasa.gov
Fire + Carbon videos

Forest fires in Europe

Superficial peatland burning for cultivation in Frisia (Northwest Germany) around 1990. Source:
Freilichtmuseum am Kiekeberg, Harburg County, Germany

Raatajat rahanalaiset Under the Yoke (burning the Brushwood)


Source/photographer: Hannu Aaltonen. Painted by Eero Jrnefelt - 1893

Humans as source of forest fire ignition

Purposely
Preparation for cultivation, facilitating nutrient release (historically,
current practice along equator)
Prescribed (controlled) burning of slash, understory
Accidentally
Cigarettes, bonfires
Careless, irresponsible behavior

Major historical fire events

Fire occurrence and severity depend on:


Note:

wildfires have a natural cause or a human (accidental) cause,


controlled fires have a human (intentional) cause

1. Ignition source
Q: Why is fire severity higher in wildfires than in controlled fires?
lightning
Human
2. Amount, structure and nature of
the material
species
continuity
3. Weather
4. Topography, site type

Fuel nature and structure

Forest development stage & fire susceptibility


Young, stand initiation
Stem exclusion
Understory reinitiation
Mature to old, multi-aged
Senescent

Historical and predicted fire

Historical burning
Fire extinguishment policy
Climate change?

ASIO model for fire frequency

Absent
Seldom
Infrequent
Often

Mark ASIO on the graph

A Absent, S Seldom, I Infrequent , O Often


Very Dry

Moisture

Wet

Poor

Rich

Nutrients

ASIO model for fire frequency

Fire adaption
Sprouting
Small seeds
Serotinous species: species with an ecological adaptation to release seeds in response to
an environmental trigger usually in literature fire (pyriscence)
World:
Europe:
Protaeceae
Pinus
Eucalyptus
P. halepensis
Erica
P. pinaster
Cupressus
P. brutia
Pinus
(P. pinea)
Picea
Cupressus sempervirens
Sequoiadendron

Estonian forest site types

Forest fire impact

Forest structure
patchy fashion
understory, regeneration, successional pathways
Soil characteristics and processes
e.g. review by Certini, 2005
Gas exchange
Climate? Interaction with other disturbance types? Susceptibility to
subsequent disturbance?

Fire impact on forest processes

Carbon cycles through forests

Forest fire and carbon stocks

Forest fire and soil respiration

Forest fire and soil fungal and microbial


biomass

Forest fire and soil carbon turnover

Summary of fire impact on soil carbon

FACTORS AFFECTING CARBON FLUXES


Removal of trees and ground vegetation affect the carbon flux to soil
As a result of fire, succession starts from the beginning
Forest fire affects fungal biomass -> after fire the fungal biomass is smaller
than in old forest
There is a positive correlaction between fungal biomass and soil carbon
turnover
EFFECTS OF FOREST FIRES ON SOIL CARBON FLUXES
Forest fire decreases soil carbon stocks
Forest turns from a carbon sink into a source after fire
Forest turns back into a carbon sink 10-15 years after fire

How to combine fires and management?


GOALS:
Regeneration of burned areas
Diverse forests
Reduced fire risk

How to combine fires and management?


Nva &
Vihterpalu

Regeneration:
- 2 fires, in 2008 and in 1992
- Chronosequence
- Old forests = planted or sown pine
- New forest = natural regeneration
- Abundance & height

5 types of areas
1. No management
2. No clearing, D+A
3. Clearing
4. Live trees
5. Dead trees

1. No fire, no management

2.1. Fire, no clearing; fire in 2008

2.2. Fire, no clearing; fire in 1992

3.1. Fire + clearing; fire in 2008

3.2. Fire + clearing; fire in 1992

4. Fire, old live trees

5. Fire, old dead trees

Regeneration abundance
1. No management
2. No clearing,
D+A
3. Clearing

4. Live trees
5. Dead trees

No regeneration
Abundant
Low
Low
Abundant